Animals, vol.12, no.7, 2022 (SCI-Expanded)
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.The aquaculture sector is one of the main activities contributing to food security for humanity around the globe. However, aquatic animals are susceptible to several farming stressors involved in deteriorated growth performance, reduced productivity, and eventually high mortality rates. In some countries still, antibiotics and chemotherapies are comprehensively applied to control biotic stressors. Aside from the apparent benefits, the continuous usage of antibiotics develops bacterial resistance, deteriorates bacterial populations, and accumulates these compounds in the aquatic environment. Alternatively, environmentally friendly additives were used to avoid the direct and indirect impacts on the aquatic ecosystem and human health. In aquaculture, medicinal herbs and extracts are extensively used and approved for their growth-promoting, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidative properties. Herbal essential oils contain many bioactive components with powerful antibacterial, antioxidative, and immunostimulant potentials, suggesting their application for aquatic animals. Essential oils can be provided via diet and can benefit aquatic animals by improving their well-being and health status. The use of essential oils in aquafeed has been studied in a variety of aquatic animals to determine their beneficial roles and optimum doses. The outputs illustrated that herbal essential oils are exciting alternatives to antibiotics with prominent growth promotion, antioxidative, and immunostimulant roles. Herein, we reviewed the beneficial roles of essential oils in aquaculture. This review also aims to describe trends in herbal essential oils use, mainly in commercial fish species, and to analyze different factors that affect essential oils’ efficacy on the growth performance, antioxidative, and immune responses of finfish species.