As new aquatic food sources are discovered techniques are being developed to farm these resources. For example, as new species of fish become common food sources, scientists need to determine what environment will result in the best biomass production outcome. Studies are underway to study the effect of certain species of sea lice on farmed fish, how to control this problem, and how to prevent accidental release into the wild. Other diseases endemic to farmed environments, such as bacterial and fungal infections, are also being studied.
A big research topic is the impact of escaped farmed fish on stocks of wild fish. For instance, salmon have been genetically modified to grow faster than their wild counterparts, and if they escape, can overwhelm and replace the local wild population. As well, the impact of farming on local ecosystems is also being extensively studied. Again using salmon as an example, due to their carnivorous nature, it takes more biomass to feed salmon that is produced by the end product, so there is a net reduction in available biomass. Studies are currently underway to attempt to find alternative food sources, or to modify fish that require less food.
Other studies on the impact of aquaculture on wild ecosystems include determining the effect of farmed fecal matter on the surrounding waters, and also the accidental release of pesticides used to treat aquaculture environments. Methods are being developed that capture these waste products and render them either inert or beneficial (eg. as compost).
There are also policy studies which focus on the role of aquaculture in society, and their impacts on local communities. Research includes the effects of job creation on remote communities, land-and-water rights, Native People's claims, and marine tourism.