From China to Mesopotamia: The early steps of aquaculture.

Aquaculture, or the cultivation of aquatic organisms, has its roots in the ancient civilizations of Asia and the Middle East. This practice has evolved significantly over the centuries, but its foundations were established thousands of years ago.

China: The cradle of modern aquaculture.

The oldest records of aquaculture come from China, around 2000 B.C. The ancient Chinese not only cultivated fish but also developed advanced techniques such as polyculture, which involves raising different species together in the same pond. This practice improves efficiency and reduces the incidence of diseases by taking advantage of the different diets and behaviors of the species.

A key figure in the history of Chinese aquaculture is Fan Li, a statesman and strategist who lived during the Spring and Autumn period (722-481 B.C.). He wrote the first treatise on fish farming, describing detailed methods for raising carp. His work, “Fan Li on Fish Farming,” laid the foundations for modern aquaculture practices in China.

Mesopotamia: Early innovations.

Simultaneously, in Mesopotamia, the region between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, aquaculture practices were also developed. Although specific records are scarce, it is known that the ancient Sumerians and Babylonians created artificial ponds to store and raise fish. These ponds were an integral part of their agricultural systems, allowing for efficient management of water and food resources.

Polyculture and sustainability.

One of the reasons ancient aquaculture was so successful in these regions was the focus on sustainability and integration with other agricultural systems. In China, for example, farmers combined fish farming with rice cultivation, using the ponds to raise fish and fertilize the fields simultaneously. This practice not only improved productivity but also maintained the health of the ecosystem.

Legacy and evolution.

The techniques and knowledge developed in these ancient civilizations have endured and evolved over the centuries. Today, aquaculture remains a vital part of food production worldwide, with advanced technologies that have their roots in these ancestral practices.

The remote beginnings of aquaculture in Asia and the Middle East highlight the ingenuity and adaptability of ancient civilizations. Through innovation and sustainable integration, they laid the foundations for modern aquaculture practices that continue to feed millions of people around the world.

  International platform for insects as food and feed (IPIFF)