Many coastal communities depend on aquaculture for food and income using it to replace or supplement traditional artisanal fishing practices. Aquaculture at this scale can provide local communities with a consistent source of protein and relieve pressure on local fisheries and marine ecosystems. Community aquaculture usually occurs close to shore or on land in coastal ponds. Effort tends to be lower including basic technologies and little to no feed requirements.

Asian and African societies have been farming fish for centuries employing complex multi-trophic systems in order to maximize the benefits of their efforts. As an example, some Chinese villages would grow various species of Carp in flooded rice fields to concurrently fertilize the fields and provide nutrients for fish. Even before this, the Egyptians used similar mixed agricultural designs in their farming.