This article analyses the legal adaptive capacity for increasing sustainable fish aquaculture production in EU-Finland. Currently, fish aquaculture is driven by increasing global demand of fish, declining natural fisheries, food security and blue growth policies. At the same time, environmental policies such as the EU Water Framework Directive and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive set tightening legal-ecological requirements for the industry's nutrient emissions. Against this background, the success of blue growth policies related to aquaculture – and the hope of reconciling competing interests at sea – boil down to measures available for dealing with excess nutrients. In line with the mitigation hierarchy, the article establishes four alternative pathways for the fish aquaculture industry to grow without increasing its environmental nutrient footprint significantly, and evaluates the legal adaptive capacity and the legal risks attached to these pathways.
Aquaculture, Seafood, and Food Security
By 2050 it is expected that food, clean drinking water and sustainable energy has to be produced for a world population of close to 10 billion people. Our seas and oceans represent 71% of earth's surface, yet its space and resources today are not sustainably utilised to their full extent. The importance of the use of the marine environment is within the EU widely acknowledged and reflected in such agendas as the EU Blue Growth strategy, the Food 2030 agenda and the Food from our Oceans vision. In order to substantiate the vision to increasingly feed the world population from our oceans, a foresight exercise was implemented to construct an agenda of the science needed in the realm of fisheries, aquaculture and seafood. This resulted in a research agenda that is logically argued and based on an analysis made by stakeholders and experts which led to the identification of priorities having a scientific analytical basis as well as a societal reference. The process and the results of this foresight exercise are presented and are put in the wider context of Europe's research agenda towards 2050. In order to bring about the required Blue Revolution, substantial effort should be rendered to the science and innovation needed to support this development.
Cultivation of kelp has been well established throughout Asia, and there is now growing interest in the cultivation of macroalgae in Europe to meet future resource needs. If this industry is to become established throughout Europe, then balancing the associated environmental risks with potential benefits will be necessary to ensure the carrying capacity of the receiving environments are not exceeded and conservation objects are not undermined. This is a systematic review of the ecosystem changes likely to be associated with a developing seaweed aquaculture industry. Monitoring recommendations are made by risk ranking environmental changes, highlighting the current knowledge gaps and providing research priorities to address them. Environmental changes of greatest concern were identified to include: facilitation of disease, alteration of population genetics and wider alterations to the local physiochemical environment. Current high levels of uncertainty surrounding the true extent of some environmental changes mean conservative risk rankings are given. Recommended monitoring options are discussed that aim to address uncertainty and facilitate informed decision-making. Whilst current small-scale cultivation projects are considered ‘low risk,’ an expansion of the industry that includes ‘large-scale’ cultivation will necessitate a more complete understanding of the scale dependent changes in order to balance environmental risks with the benefits that seaweed cultivation projects can offer.
Aquaculture is a major contributor to global food production, but has attracted considerable controversy. Disagreements over the social and ecological impacts of aquaculture (positive and negative) have hindered further expansion of aquaculture production, particularly in wealthy democratic countries. This article presents findings from a series of workshops bringing international aquaculture scholars together from the natural and social sciences to examine and compare social-ecological challenges facing aquaculture development in five nations: Canada, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. This multinational comparison provides unique insights into common and particular challenges in aquaculture governance – a dimension that is missing in current literature about the industry. A political ecology framework from the environmental social sciences is used to examine how natural and human phenomena interact to shape these challenges and frame the conflicts that often result. The analysis reveals a wide range of social-ecological factors limiting aquaculture expansion in the five countries, including access to suitable environments, interactions with other sectors, and policy and regulatory gaps – not only with respect to aquaculture, but also on related issues such as marine spatial planning and the involvement of indigenous peoples in decision-making. The findings provide preliminary guidance for future policy development and comparative aquaculture research.
Norway is the largest global producer and exporter of farmed salmon, however the growth of the industry has coincided with environmental impacts to the marine ecosystem and negative perceptions of salmon farming. Integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (IMTA) is one solution, and scientists in Norway have researched salmon-driven IMTA for over a decade. Their research suggests that IMTA can mitigate some of the negative environmental impacts of salmon farming through waste recycling, however regulations in Norway do not allow IMTA. A participatory workshop was conducted to assess the future of IMTA in Norway, and participants were experts with a comprehensive understanding of the biological and technological processes of IMTA or salmon farming. Two group exercises gave participants the opportunity to conceptualize IMTA in the Norwegian salmon industry, and results indicate that IMTA would improve perceptions of the industry, create skilled jobs in coastal communities, and provide the industry with new sustainable sources of marine ingredients for feed. Participants identified that advocates of IMTA have a difficult task in advancing their agenda because of other stakeholders, such as policymakers and the public concerned with the environmental impacts from salmon farming, communities that regulate access to their coastal zone, and a powerful industry focused on producing salmon. This article explores how advocates could advance IMTA regulations in Norway using agenda building to influence policymakers and agenda setting to sway public opinion. This is the first interdisciplinary article on IMTA in the Norwegian salmon industry using a social science approach.
Marine aquaculture is a rapidly growing industry that presents both opportunities and risks for the environment and society. Whether aquatic farming (bivalves and finfish) in the ocean can mitigate food security concerns and be done without significant ecological impact depends in large part on the governance infrastructure of the sector. This study assesses the relationships at the nation-state level between existing aquaculture policy determined by survey and literature review, indicators of the quality of governance, and assessments of the ecological potential for highly productive aquaculture. The possible socio-ecological implications of Blue Growth for nations around the world are then discussed. There are numerous unexploited opportunities for countries, like those in the Pacific and Caribbean, with good governance and growth potential to pursue marine aquaculture, particularly to potentially alleviate local food security concerns. In comparison, countries already producing marine aquaculture do not have the most biologically suitable waters (e.g., China), but are more closely aligned with private capital – showing production is clearly possible, but may be less sustainable or optimal. Notably, many countries active in the marine aquaculture space appear to have some level of associated regulation and environmental oversight, but appear to lack clear frameworks for emerging growth in the sector, particularly offshore production. This study provides one of the first global evaluations of sustainable aquaculture potential under current governance, policy, and capital patterns.
Climate change, observed as warming sea surface temperatures, is expected to impact the Eastern coast of Canada at a rate higher than the global average. Changes in marine abiotic conditions will impact the growth and performance of economically important bivalve species, creating an increasingly uncertain future for the bivalve aquaculture industry. Site-selection for new farms, and the management of extant ones could mitigate these potential impacts, but the implementation of this planning process is dependent on stakeholder support and engagement. Recognizing the importance of stakeholder input in management decisions, this research analyzed the perspectives of farmers, researchers, and managers from Nova Scotia (NS) and Prince Edward Island (PEI) on the relationship between climate change and bivalve aquaculture. Stakeholder perspectives were analyzed using a semi-quantitative interview method (Q methodology). These perspectives indicated the need for a higher level of integration both between stakeholder groups, namely farmers and managers, and management tools and climate change. Increased understanding between farmers and managers could be achieved through the use of researchers as knowledge brokers, collaborating and communicating with both groups. Making use of management tools, such as the ecosystem approach to aquaculture, required insurance, and adaptive management, governmental bodies on both a federal and provincial level can act as channels by which uncertainty generated by climate change can be further reduced. In summary, stakeholder perception can be used by marine planners to adapt to these foreseen changes, and to promote the expansion of this industry.
We have evaluated the cultivation potential of sugar kelp (Saccharina latissima) as a function of latitude and position (near- and offshore) along the Norwegian coast using a coupled 3D hydrodynamic-biogeochemical-kelp model system (SINMOD) run for four growth seasons (2012–2016). The results are spatially explicit and may be used to compare the suitability of different regions for kelp cultivation, both inshore and offshore.The simulation results were compared with growth data from kelp cultivation experiments and in situ observations on coverage of naturally growing kelp. The model demonstrated a higher production potential offshore than in inshore regions, which is mainly due to the limitations in nutrient availability caused by the stratification found along the coast. However, suitable locations for kelp cultivation were also identified in areas with high vertical mixing close to the shore. The results indicate a latitudinal effect on the timing of the optimal period of growth, with the prime growth period being up to 2 months earlier in the south (58 °N) than in the north (71 °N). Although the maximum cultivation potential was similar in the six marine ecoregions in Norway (150–200 tons per hectare per year), the deployment time of the cultures seems to matter significantly in the south, but less so in the north. The results are discussed, focusing on their potential significance for optimized cultivation and to support decision making toward sustainable management.
Coastal environments of the world have been exposed to eutrophication for several decades. Recently the quality of coastal waters has been gradually and successfully improved, however the improvement has caused another issue in ecoastal ecosystem services, called oligotrophication. Local stakefolders have suggested that oligotrophication reduces pelagic productivity and moreover fishery production in coastal ecosystems, while oligotrophication with high transparency has recovered benthic macrophyte vegetation which have been depressed by phytoplankton derived from eutrophication. In particular, seagrass species is one of the most important coastal vegetation for climate change mitigation and adaptation, which has been welcomed by another stakefolders. Therefore, harmonizing coastal fishery with environmental conservation is now essential for the sustainable use of ecosystem services. Here, we just started some practice in field based on the interdisciplinary approach including ecological actions, socio-economical actions and moreover psychological actions to find the integrative coastal management maximizing well-beings of various stakefolders, which is essential to harmonize environmental conservation with sustainable fishery and aquaculture. Now we are focusing on the interaction between oyster aquaculture and seagrass vegetation as an ecological action.
The debate over Brexit and the fisheries question has focused very largely on the expected benefits for the UK's fishing industry to the virtual exclusion of potential implications for the seafood supply chain. This paper refocuses attention on a supply chain now heavily dependent on both imports and exports of fish and fish products mainly to EU markets. Brexit could pose potentially significant problems arising from the imposition of tariff and non-tariff restrictions on trade and limitation on future movements of semi-skilled and unskilled EU migrants into the UK labour market. Three elements of the supply chain are likely to be directly affected: the shellfish and small scale fisheries sectors impacted by tariff and non-tariff restrictions and perhaps most significantly the fish processing industry, similarly affected by trade restrictions and heavily dependent on EU labour. Brexit has also been the catalyst for renewed pressures in Scotland for further devolution of powers relating to the fishing industry that at some future date could see the development of two distinctive seafood supply chains within the UK.