Spatial claims concerning the rapidly growing European offshore wind sector give rise to various ideas for the multi-use application of wind farms. Seaweed is considered a promising feedstock for food and feed that could be produced at offshore wind farms. Concerns about risks resulting in liability claims and insurance premiums are often seen as show-stoppers to multi-use at offshore wind farms. In this study, key environmental risks of seaweed cultivation at offshore wind farms, identified through literature review, are characterized based on stakeholder consultation. The current approach to risk governance is evaluated to assess how it can handle the uncertain, complex, and/or ambiguous risks of multi-use. It is concluded that current risk governance for multi-use is poorly equipped to deal with the systemic nature of risks. Risk governance should be a joint effort of governments and private regulators. It can improve if it is based on an adaptive framework for risk assessment that can deal with complex, systemic risks. Furthermore, it should be flexible and inclusive, i.e., open to new incoming information and stakeholder input, and taking into account and communicate about the different stakes and values of the various parties involved. The importance of communication and inclusion must be recognized, which promotes participation of concerned stakeholders.
Aquaculture, Seafood, and Food Security
Aquaculture, the fastest growing food sector, is expected to expand to produce an additional 30 million metric tons of fish by 2030, thus filling the gap in supplies of seafood for humans. Salmonids aquaculture exploits the vast majority of fishmeal and fish oil rendered from ocean-dwelling forage fish. Most forage fish diverted to these commodities are human-food grade, and all are primary prey for marine predators. Rising costs, price volatility, and environmental sustainability concerns of using these commodities for aquaculture feed are driving the global search for alternatives, including marine microalgae originating from the base of marine food webs but produced in culture. We report the first evaluation of two marine microalgae, Nannochloropsis sp. and Isochrysis sp., for their potential to fully replace fishmeal and fish oil in diets of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), an important model for all salmonid aquaculture. We conducted a digestibility experiment with dried whole cells of Nannochloropsis sp. and Isochrysis sp., followed by a growth experiment using feeds with different combinations of Nannochloropsis sp., Isochrysis sp., and Schizochytrium sp. We found that digestibilities of crude protein, crude lipid, amino acids, fatty acids, omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n3 PUFA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), n6 (omega 6) PUFA in Isochrysis sp. were significantly higher than those in Nannochloropsis sp. Digestibility results suggest that for rainbow trout diets Isochrysis sp. is a better substitute for fishmeal and fish oil than Nannochloropsis sp. The lower feed intake by fish fed diets combining multiple microalgae, compared to fish fed the reference diet, was a primary cause of the growth retardation. In trout fillets, we detected an equal amount of DHA in fish fed fish-free diet and reference diet. This study suggests that Isochrysis sp. and Schizochytrium sp. are good candidates for DHA supplementation in trout diet formulations.
Most fish breeding programs aim at improving growth rate and include feed conversion ratio (FCR) neither in the breeding goal nor in the selection index, although decreasing FCR is known to increase farm profit and decrease environmental impacts. This is because FCR is difficult to measure in fish that live in groups and FCR is assumed to have a favourable (negative) genetic correlation with growth, although the magnitude of this correlation is unknown. We investigated the effect of the genetic correlation between growth and FCR on the economic and environmental responses of a two-trait breeding goal (growth and FCR), compared to a single-trait breeding goal (growth only). Next, we evaluated the weights to assign to growth and FCR in a two-trait breeding goal to maximize sustainability of fish production.
We used pseudo-best linear unbiased prediction (BLUP) index calculations to simulate a breeding program for sea bass. For the single-trait breeding goal, the trait in the breeding goal and in the index was thermal growth coefficient (TGC) and for the two-trait breeding goal, the traits in the breeding goal were TGC and FCR and the traits in the index were TGC and percentage of fat in the dorsal muscle (an indirect measure of FCR). We simulated responses to selection for genetic and phenotypic correlations between TGC and FCR ranging from 0 to − 0.8. Then, in the two-trait breeding goal, we calculated the economic return and the change in eutrophication when using economic values (EV) or environmental values (ENV).
When the genetic correlation between TGC and FCR was lower than − 0.45, we found major differences in economic returns and in eutrophication between single and two-trait breeding programs. At a correlation of − 0.25, the two-trait breeding goal based on EV increased economic return by 25% compared to the single-trait breeding goal, while using ENV decreased eutrophication by 1.34% per ton of fish produced after one generation of selection.
The genetic correlation between TGC and FCR affects the magnitude of economic losses due to omitting FCR in the breeding program. In addition, the genetic correlation affects the importance of choosing EV or ENV to reduce eutrophication and increase profit.
Bivalve molluscs fishery is of great importance along the Italian coasts, both in economic and landing terms, and different edible bivalve species are harvested both in Adriatic and Tyrrhenian Seas. A medium-term assessment of the impact of the hydraulic dredges targeting razor clam Ensis minor on macro-benthic community was made during two surveys carried out in winter 2017 and late spring – summer 2018 in central Tyrrhenian Sea, which represents the main fishing ground for this species. The study area was located between 1 and 4 m depth, within 0.3 nautical miles from the coast. A net sampler (40 cm width, 18 cm height, and 14 mm mesh size) was mounted on a commercial dredge (3 m width) and enabled to collect specimens of the smallest sizes for the entire community present in the areas. A control area was identified where fishing does not occur, in order to compare exploited and not exploited sea bottoms. The results show that benthic assemblages found in dredged areas are characterized by species living in high-energy habitat, due to the closeness to the shore, and thus showing a high resilience at medium-term disturbs. Differences in species richness were not clearly evident both for the entire community and for the mollusc assemblages evaluated over the two surveys, among the control and the impacted areas, with few exceptions mainly depending on local conditions and anthropic pressure. Thus, even if the benthic community is typical of a moderately disturbed environment, the effects of fishing on the community structure are still discernible over and above the natural variation.
Interest and growth in marine aquaculture are increasing around the world, and with it, advanced spatial planning approaches are needed to find suitable locations in an increasingly crowded ocean. Standard spatial planning approaches, such as a Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA), may be challenging and time consuming to interpret in heavily utilized ocean spaces. Spatial autocorrelation, a statistical measure of spatial dependence, may be incorporated into the planning framework, which provides objectivity and assistance with the interpretation of spatial analysis results. Here, two case studies highlighting applications of spatial autocorrelation analyses in the northeast region of the United States of America are presented. The first case study demonstrates the use of a local indicator of spatial association analysis within a relative site suitability analysis – a variant of a MCDA – for siting a mussel longline farm. This case study statistically identified 17% of the area as highly suitable for a mussel longline farm, relative to other locations in the area of interest. The use of a clear, objective, and efficient analysis provides improved confidence for industry, coastal managers, and stakeholders planning marine aquaculture. The second case study presents an incremental spatial autocorrelation analysis with Moran’s I that is performed on modeled and remotely sensed oceanographic data sets (e.g., chlorophyll a, sea surface temperature, and current speed). The results are used to establish a maximum area threshold for each oceanographic variable within the online decision support tool, OceanReports, which performs an automated spatial analysis for a user-selected area (i.e., drawn polygon) of ocean space. These thresholds provide users guidance and summary statistics of relevant oceanographic information for aquaculture planning. These two case studies highlight practical uses and the value of spatial autocorrelation analyses to improve the siting process for marine aquaculture.
Offshore aquaculture of giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera) has been proposed by the US Department of Energy for large scale biofuel production along the west coast of California. The Southern Californian Bight provides an ideal area for offshore kelp aquaculture as the upwelling and advection of cool, nutrient-rich waters supports the growth of vast native giant kelp populations. However, concentrations of nutrients vary greatly across space, can be limiting for kelp growth over seasonal to interannual time scales, and inputs of nutrients to surface waters may be subject to local circulation processes. Therefore, it is important to understand both the spatiotemporal variability of seawater nitrate concentrations and the appropriate scale of observation in order for offshore kelp aquaculture to be successful. Here, we use a combination of satellite sea surface temperature imagery, in situ measurements, and modeling to determine seawater nitrate fields across multiple spatial and temporal scales. We then combine this information with known giant kelp physiological traits to develop a kelp stress index (KSI) for the optimal siting of offshore kelp aquaculture over seasonal to decadal scales. Temperature to nitrate relationships were determined from in situ measurements using generalized additive models and validated with buoy data. Summer and winter relationships were significantly different, and satellite-derived products compared well to buoy validations. Surface nitrate patterns, as derived from satellite temperature products, reveal the spatial variability in nitrate concentrations, and indicate areas that that may cause nutrient stress seasonally and during the negative phase of the North Pacific Gyre Oscillation. As the spatial scale of the surface nitrate product decreased, the negative bias increased and fine scale spatial variability was lost. Similarly, the averaging of daily nitrate concentration determinations over longer time scales increased the negative bias. We found that daily, 1 km spatial resolution nitrate products were most sufficient for identifying localized upwelling and areas of consistently high surface nitrate concentrations, and that areas in the northern and western-most portions of the Southern California Bight are the most suitable for sustained offshore kelp aquaculture.
Farming of eucheumatoid seaweeds is a widespread, promising activity and an important livelihood option in many tropical coastal areas as for example in East Africa, Western Indian Ocean (WIO). Compared to other types of aquaculture, seaweed farming has generally low impact on the environment. Nonetheless, there are potential direct or indirect negative effects of seaweed farming, such as introduction of alien species and changes in local environmental conditions. Although farming has been practiced in this region during several decades, the knowledge concerning the actual environmental impacts from faming non-native eucheumatoid haplotypes and consequently how to manage farming activities to mitigate those is highly limited. In this review, we provide a summary of the current scientific knowledge of potential direct and indirect negative environmental effects linked to eucheumatoid seaweed farming such as alterations of benthic macrophyte habitats and loss of native biodiversity. Furthermore, we highlight knowledge gaps that are of importance to address in the near future, e.g., large-scale ecosystem effects and farms as potential vectors of pathogens. We also provide a number of feasible management recommendations to be implemented for a continued development of environmentally sustainable seaweed farming practices in the WIO region, which includes spatial planning of farms to avoid sensitive areas and farming of native haplotypes of eucheumatoids instead of introduced specimens.
Aquaculture is one of the world’s fastest growing food production sectors and presents an opportunity for rural community development that can support coastal livelihoods. An ecosystem approach to aquaculture (EAA) has been recommended to facilitate socially and environmentally sustainable development, yet there remains a need to better involve people in planning and operational aspects. Community-based management may help to implement principles of the EAA; however, context-specific research is needed to understand its potential application and suitability. This research explores opportunities for community-based marine aquaculture (CBMA) for nonfinfish in the context of Nova Scotia, Canada, through a series of stakeholder interviews. Results suggest that all stakeholder groups interviewed were positive about the potential for CBMA to support sustainable aquaculture growth in the province; however, key questions around operationalizing CBMA remain. The aquaculture industry is on a continual path for growth worldwide and, therefore, it becomes increasingly important to proactively examine strategies such as CBMA that can help to facilitate EAA in a way that genuinely puts people at the centre of aquaculture development and governance.
Identifying strategies to maintain seafood supply is central to global food supply. China is the world’s largest producer of seafood and has used a variety of production methods in the ocean including domestic capture fisheries, aquaculture (both freshwater and marine), stock enhancement, artificial reef building, and distant water fisheries. Here we survey the outcomes of China’s marine seafood production strategies, with particular attention paid to the associated costs, benefits, and risks. Benefits identified include high production, low management costs, and high employment, but significant costs and risks were also identified. For example, a majority of fish in China’s catches are one year-old, ecosystem and catch composition has changed relative to the past, wild and farmed stocks can interact both negatively and positively, distant water fisheries are a potential source of conflict, and disease has caused crashes in mariculture farms. Reforming China’s wild capture fisheries management toward strategies used by developed nations would continue to shift the burden of production to aquaculture and could have negative social impacts due to differences in fishing fleet size and behavior, ecosystem structure, and markets. Consequently, China may need to develop novel management methods in reform efforts, rather than rely on examples from other large seafood producing countries. Improved accounting of production from fisheries and aquaculture, harmonization and centralization of historical data sets and systematic scientific surveys would improve the knowledge base for planning and evaluating future reform.
Aquaculture increasingly contributes to global seafood production, requiring new farm sites for continued growth. In France, oyster cultivation has conventionally taken place in the intertidal zone, where there is little or no further room for expansion. Despite interest in moving production further offshore, more information is needed regarding the biological potential for offshore oyster growth, including its spatial and temporal variability. This study shows the use of remotely-sensed chlorophyll-a and total suspended matter concentrations retrieved from the Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS), and sea surface temperature from the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR), all validated using in situ matchup measurements, as input to run a Dynamic Energy Budget (DEB) Pacific oyster growth model for a study site along the French Atlantic coast (Bourgneuf Bay, France). Resulting oyster growth maps were calibrated and validated using in situ measurements of total oyster weight made throughout two growing seasons, from the intertidal zone, where cultivation currently takes place, and from experimental offshore sites, for both spat (R2 = 0.91; RMSE = 1.60 g) and adults (R2 = 0.95; RMSE = 4.34 g). Oyster growth time series are further digested into industry-relevant indicators, such as time to achieve market weight and quality index, elaborated in consultation with local producers and industry professionals, and which are also mapped. Offshore growth is found to be feasible and to be as much as two times faster than in the intertidal zone (p < 0.001). However, the potential for growth is also revealed to be highly variable across the investigated area. Mapping reveals a clear spatial gradient in production potential in the offshore environment, with the northeastern segment of the bay far better suited than the southwestern. Results also highlight the added value of spatiotemporal data, such as satellite image time series, to drive modeling in support of marine spatial planning. The current work demonstrates the feasibility and benefit of such a coupled remote sensing-modeling approach within a shellfish farming context, responding to real and current interests of oyster producers.