Mariculture is the cultivation, management, and harvesting of marine creatures in their natural habitat (including estuarine, brackish, coastal, and offshore seas) or in enclosures such as pens, tanks, or channels. Seaweeds, mollusks, crabs, fish, and, more recently, echinoderms are among the organisms that have been grown. Two characteristics distinguish Mariculture from capture fisheries: stock ownership and active intervention in the production cycle (husbandry). Mariculture is the world's fastest-growing food industry. It is and will continue to expand in significance in terms of aquatic food in coastal areas, as well as a source of employment and income for many coastal habitats. Mariculture that is well-planned and managed can also help to protect the ecology along the coast.