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When you think of farming, your first thought probably isn’t fish. The old saying, “There are plenty of fish in the sea,” may lead you to believe that they are all available on demand. However, we often have to depend on aquaculture to provide seafood to your family. Check out why it’s done, and how it actually benefits the environment.

The Why

So, why do we farm fish? Simply put, our demand for wild seafood is greater than the global seafood industry is able to supply. Because of this, we turn to imported wild seafood and farmed seafood which is also known as aquaculture. Did you know that the U.S. currently imports over 90 percent of its seafood, and half of this comes from aquaculture? At Publix, we first source our seafood domestically. However, if it is not available, we turn to imported seafood to meet our customer’s demands.

How it’s Done

Aquaculture is the process in which seafood is bred, raised, and harvested in a controlled water environment. The two main types include marine and freshwater environments. Marine aquaculture can take place in the ocean where the seafood is raised in a large pen either on the sea floor or suspended in the water, or in on-land manmade systems such as ponds or tanks. Freshwater aquaculture primarily takes place in ponds in man-made systems.

08_14_ML_Aquaculture_image 3The Benefits

Aquaculture provides large and consistent quantities of seafood. This is important to seafood supply, as wild-caught seafood has limited availability based on the season, the weather affecting the environment, and the regulations on what can be caught. Aquaculture also has the ability to help with stock enhancement. Fish and shellfish can be raised in a hatchery, then released into the wild to boost the population of the species.


Is it Safe?

Yes. Any seafood product from the United States or that is imported to the U.S. follows very stringent guidelines, regardless of its country of origin. All farms undergo regular inspections that monitor feeding regulations, sanitation procedures, and record maintenance.

The responsibilities of observing and regulating seafood safety are distributed among various agencies of the federal government and individual states. The main federal agencies tasked with monitoring aquaculture include the Food and Drug Administration, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Our Supplier Requirements

In addition to the monitoring done by federal and state agencies, Publix ensures that each supplier meets our own standards so we know the products we purchase are sustainably sourced and safe for consumption. Our requirements include:

  • Meeting the Global Food Safety Initiative standards for food safety and good08_14_ML_Aquaculture_image 2 manufacturing practices. This is the leading standard and is recognized worldwide.
  • Using in house labs to test for antibiotics prior to the seafood’s being processed for shipment.
  • Maintaining files of antibiotics used and strict documentation of usage and dosage for each pond. We require certificates of analysis to show that every lot is tested to ensure that it is antibiotic free when harvested. They are also tested  for listeria, salmonella, and e-coli.
  • Working directly with a limited number of suppliers (without intermediaries) that understand our expectations and the responsibility they have to our consumers to ensure the quality of the food supply.


Do you have any questions regarding aquaculture? Share them with us in the comments below.

Matt L.

Written by

Matt L. started with Publix in 2010 and has bled green ever since. He loves the company culture and especially appreciates the opportunity to help customers each and every day. An avid reader, Matt most enjoys learning something new himself when he sets out to write a new blog post for The Checkout. Outside of work, you can find Matt playing video games, experimenting with new recipes in the kitchen, and hanging out with his cat – who is basically his spirit animal.

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