The initial impression that the resources of the oceans were limitless has been replaced by a more rational appreciation that everything has its limits, including the seemingly infinite resources of marine plant life. In addition, experience in California, Australia, China, Japan and Korea has demonstrated that depletion of seaweed resources for commercial utilization has a deleterious effect on the biocenotic status of the continental shelf. In view of this, many countries, such as Japan, China, Korea, the Philippines and the USSR, have embarked on aquaculture programs, in which seaweeds are cultivated on marine plantations. Successful developments in this direction should go a long way to preserving the natural ecologic balance on the continental shelf, and yet provide mankind with the resources of the deep. Many difficulties remain to be resolved before aquaculture programs become fully cost effective, one of which deals with the susceptibility of a monoculture to a given predator or disease. To that end, such programs necessitate the creation of well balanced systems that would support a variety of marine plant and animal life without an adverse effect on the desired crop. 4 references, 6 figures.