Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences

, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 297-305

First online:

The globalization of ecologically intensive aquaculture (1984–2008)

  • Stefano B. LongoAffiliated withDepartment of Sociology and Anthropology, North Carolina State University Email author 
  • , Brett ClarkAffiliated withDepartment of Sociology, University of Utah
  • , Richard YorkAffiliated withDepartment of Sociology, University of Oregon

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Social structures influence the spread of aquaculture and the particular ecological demands of this industry, which mediate the prospects of fisheries conservation. We assessed the effects of trade in food and fisheries commodities, the level of economic development, aquaculture production, and human population on the expansion of ecologically intensive aquaculture within the global food system. In doing this, we created a conservative measure of ecologically intensive aquaculture. We then conducted cross-national panel regression analyses (1984–2008) of 90 nations to investigate the expansion of ecologically intensive aquaculture and its integration into the global food system. The results indicated positive significant relationships between ecologically intensive aquaculture practices and fisheries commodity exports, total trade in food commodities, GDP per capita, and population size. These findings suggest that the dynamics of the modern global food system, characterized by increasingly globalized production of natural resource intensive processes, have significantly shaped the development of modern aquaculture systems and their ecological consequences.


Fisheries Food systems Marine systems Social structures Trade