Trout aquaculture is the process of farming trout, usually as a food item. This can be achieved by raising the fish in one of many environments, which may vary depending on the particular operation. Trout may be raised in man-made or natural ponds, cages constructed in lakes, or tanks located within greenhouses or other structures. Other forms of aquaculture may also utilize cages located in marine environments, though the trout itself is a freshwater fish. In cases where trout aquaculture is utilized to stock rivers or lakes for the purposes of sports fishing, the operation is often known as a hatchery instead of a farm.
Trout aquaculture may utilize one of two different farming methods. The method known as extensive aquaculture relies on natural food sources, while intensive aquaculture introduces external food sources. The amount of trout farmed in a given area using the extensive method is limited by the amount of food available in the natural environment, while intensive farming is strictly limited by the amount of oxygen present in the water. Extensive aquafarming may be supplemented by the addition of fertilizers or other additives designed to increase the amount of food available in the natural environment, while various oxygenating apparatus may be used to increase the amount of oxygen present in intensive farming operations.
Extensive aquaculture typically occurs in natural or man-made ponds, with food sources present in the natural environment sustaining the fish. Since this type of farming depends on natural sources, many extensive operations do not limit themselves to trout or any other single species of fish. A pond environment tends to include several different food sources, so it is common to farm several species with different feeding methods in the same pond system. Though there are limitations on the potential fish biomass grown in these types of systems, many commercial operations around the world continue to utilize them. For instance, a particularly large number of extensive trout aquaculture operations exist in the Czech Republic.
Intensive aquaculture is more likely to occur in tanks, where it is easier to control the environment. These may be located in greenhouses or other structures, and this can allow them to be utilized in many different climates. By feeding the fish with an external food source and artificially increasing the level of oxygen in the tanks, it is possible to greatly increase the amount of fish biomass harvested in this form of trout aquaculture. Some concerns associated with this method may include runoff and pollution, though, when used in concert with farming operations, the waste from the fish can potentially be recycled as a source of fertilizer.