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Sustainable Aquaculture Research Center


We advance ecosystem-based marine aquaculture through interdisciplinary science and multi-stakeholder collaborations.

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Sustainable Aquaculture Research Center


We advance ecosystem-based marine aquaculture through interdisciplinary science and multi-stakeholder collaborations.

With earth’s burgeoning human populations to feed, we must turn to the sea with new understanding and new technology. We must farm it as we have the land.
— JacquesCousteau

SARC believes that aquaculture can be most sustainable and beneficial under the Ecosystem Approach to Aquaculture (EAA) . This approach focuses on balancing societal, environmental and ecological objectives in aquaculture operations. EAA can be applied at the farm, regional or policy-making level and should work to ensure the contribution of aquaculture to sustainable development.  This is done by assessing interactions between the surrounding physical, biological and anthropogenic systems and incorporating learnings to improve efficiency in aquaculture operations. Many examples of EAA exist in a variety of production styles, proving that aquaculture can be more than just a commercial activity. Aquaculture has been used to restore habitats and important species: hatchery operations to enhance stocks of over fished species and coastal restoration through oyster farming provide good examples.

While aquaculture is changing the way the world eats and holds enormous potential, it is a global industry with significant negative impacts. As the human population expands and wild fish stocks are depleted, aquaculture can be sustainable and nutritious alternative food source if done through EAA. Research is needed to address critical questions concerning the social and environmental sustainability of a wide-variety of aquaculture practices. The Sustainable Aquaculture Research Center (SARC), is helping to advance ecosystem-based management of marine aquaculture through solution-oriented science. Located at the University of California Santa Barbara’s Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, SARC addresses socio-ecological impacts and implications using state-of-the-art, collaborative, multidisciplinary approaches.

For more information about us, check out our About us or Projects pages

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Aquaculture fills the gap


With ever increasing demand for fish and limited wild stocks, aquaculture has stepped in to address the need for nutritious protein.

Aquaculture fills the gap


With ever increasing demand for fish and limited wild stocks, aquaculture has stepped in to address the need for nutritious protein.

Demand for seafood is increasing with human population while demand per capita is also increasing, but fishing yields have hit a ceiling. Aquaculture has been identified as the solution to humanity's growing demand for protein. The industry has been experiencing a surge in popularity and growth of 8% per year for the past decade. As production from fish farms accelerates it is important to understand the negative impacts to best inform further progress. We are only beginning to understand the potential effects (positive and negative) of the wide variety of aquaculture practices on important coastal ecosystems and societies, and know even less about how to properly mitigate any potential damage from these practices.  

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Balinese prawn farms replace important mangrove nursery habitat

Balinese prawn farms replace important mangrove nursery habitat

Zambian woman applies processed feed to her tilapia ponds

Zambian woman applies processed feed to her tilapia ponds

 A woman cries after thousands of fish died from pollution at her farm in China

 A woman cries after thousands of fish died from pollution at her farm in China

Learn more about these costs and benefits on our aquaculture page

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SARC @ UCSB


Bren School of Environmental Science & Management

University of California, Santa Barbara

SARC @ UCSB


Bren School of Environmental Science & Management

University of California, Santa Barbara

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Located at the University of California in Santa Barbara in the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, the Sustainable Aquaculture Research Center is surrounded by cutting edge coastal resource and aquaculture research. Our researchers are leaders in marine ecological impacts, global fisheries and human use assessments and natural resource economics and we are teaming with NGOs, government and industry to help promote sustainable aquaculture practice domestically as well as abroad.  Following the ecosystem approach to aquaculture, we are working to advance our understanding of how aquaculture interacts with important ecosystems and devise ways to improve these relationships.

 

To learn more about who we are and what we do, click on one of these links:

Our team

Our Projects

Contact us!