With global population expansion, the demand for high-quality protein is rising dramatically. Increased aquaculture production is clearly needed to meet this demand in the third millennium, because capture fisheries are at capacity or showing precipitous declines due to overfishing, habitat destruction and pollution. Over the past three decades, aquaculture has developed to become the fastest growing food production sector in the world; it has expanded, diversified, intensified and technologically advanced.
A large part of aquaculture production is taking place in an open sea environment with which it interacts complexely. The environmental conditions largely determine the growth and health of the produced species, while the production often releases large amounts of nutrients to the surrounding environment. Therefore, monitoring is needed on several levels. Factors that are monitored include: