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World - Effects of Weather and Climate on Aquaculture

Production facilities should be constructed and managed considering the potential for storms, droughts, ice cover and other events

Weather and climate are major factors affecting all types of agriculture, including aquaculture. About 20 years ago, I prepared a section on aquaculture for an agricultural meteorology manual for the World Meteorological Organization. Considerable information was found on temperature effects on aquaculture, but little about other weather variables and the same situation continues today.

Water temperature exerts major limitations in aquaculture production, and water temperature in most culture systems is under the control of the climate. The species for culture at any particular place must be selected so that the range in temperature tolerance of the species chosen is in harmony with the local climate and normal water temperature ranges. The timing of stocking and harvest operations must be within a period of suitable water temperatures, and this may limit the crop duration possible. In shrimp aquaculture it is well known that growth rate in the cool season is less than in the warm season, resulting in greater crop duration to produce a given-size shrimp in the cool season than in the warm season.

There are coldwater species (rainbow trout and other salmonids), warmwater species (ictalurid catfish, bait minnows, carps, etc.) and tropical species (penaeid shrimp, tilapia and many others). Among these three classes of temperature tolerance, most species within a class have different tolerable temperature ranges.

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