During the past few years there has been consider-able growth in the global aquaculture industry. Many factors have made this growth possible. One is development within the field of aquaculture engineering, for example improvements in technology allowing reduced consumption of freshwater and development of re-use systems. Another is the development of offshore cages: sites that until a few years ago not were viable for aquaculture purposes can be used today with good results. The focus on economic efficiency and the fact the salaries are increasing have also resulted in the increased use of technology to reduce staff numbers.
The development of new aquaculture species would not have been possible without the contribution of the fisheries technologist. Even if some techniques can be transferred for the farming of new species, there will always be a need for technology to be developed and optimized for each species. An example of this is the development of production tanks for flatfish with a larger bottom surface area than those used for pelagic fish.
Aquaculture engineering covers a very large area of knowledge and involves many general engineering specialisms such as mechanical engineering, environmental engineering, materials technology, instrumentation, and monitoring, and building design and construction. The primary aim of aqua-culture engineering is to utilize technical engineering knowledge and principles in aquaculture and biological production systems. The production of fish has little in common with the production of nails, but the same technology can be used in both production systems. It is therefore a challenge to bring together both technological and biological knowledge within the aquaculture field.