Aquaculture: Managing the environmental impacts on Galveston Bay
Lee, Phillip G.
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Aquaculture is the most rapidly expanding form of agriculture (20%/yr) in the United States (Treece, 1992). Aquaculture in Texas has lagged behind that of other southern states (e.g., Mississippi and Louisiana), but recent legislative action (Fish Farming Act of 1989) and the initiation of a leasing program through the Land Bureau has stimulated activity in Texas. The large consumer market for marine species, especially Gulf shrimp and redfish, has also resulted in increased activity in coastal areas like Galveston Bay. In the last five years, several commercial ventures located on Galveston Bay have been started for the purpose of growing shrimp, redfish, or oysters. All of these operations impact the environmental quality of the bay by increasing the biomass per unit volume of water. Some also pump large amounts of water through their operations and return organic-rich water to the bay. A rational plan for the siting of these aquaculture projects should be formulated in order to reduce conflicts with other industry and agricultural operations.