Globally, aquaculture is expanding rapidly, with salmon becoming one of the most dynamic and fast-growing production systems in the world. Despite its commercial success, Chilean salmon production has navigated through severe economic and sanitary crises; followed by consecutive policy changes. Between 2007 and 2009, the rapid spread and the multiple effects of the Infectious Salmon Anemia virus (ISAV) marked a tipping point in the trajectory of the salmon aquaculture in southern Chile. This paper examines the discursive mechanisms through which the Chilean salmon aquaculture industry is currently being re-framed in the aftermath of the ISAV crisis, with a focus on searching for the emergence of ecosystem-related elements post crisis. The analysis shows that Chilean salmon aquaculture is being re-framed by the reproduction of three main discourses: biosecurity, sustainable protein and The Promise of Patagonia. The paper concludes that despite the staggering effects of the ISAV crisis on the national salmon production and on coastal communities more than a decade ago, new discourses are focused on the legitimization to growth, in the absence of integrated marine ecosystem-related elements, indicating a crucial gap toward environmental sustainability in salmon aquaculture.
Aquaculture, Seafood, and Food Security
During the past decades, the aquaculture industry has developed rapidly, due to drop in wild fish catch. Water quality variables play major role in aquaculture operations, specifically seawater temperature has major impact on the metabolism of the fish species and therefore on the growth rate too. Since the fish farming business relies on the growth rate of the species to plan and operate the farm, seawater temperature becomes crucial information. With the availability of hydrodynamic modeling tools and global ocean information source such as Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service (CMEMS), seawater temperature can be simulated for practically any coast with dynamic downscaling approach. However, the simulated data needs to be assessed for uncertainties for enabling informed decision making using such model predictions. In this paper, a coastal 3D hydrodynamic model aiming at simulating seawater temperature is developed for the southern Aegean Sea, Greece using the Delft3D Flexible Mesh modeling tool. Seawater temperature is impacted by atmospheric forces; therefore, uncertainties are assessed for seawater temperature using ensemble atmospheric forcing functions of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) ERA5. Spatial analysis of the uncertainty indicates regions of different seawater temperature behavior within the model domain. Seasonal behavior of the vertical temperature gradient suggests that farms need to adapt different operational strategies in different seasons to make best use of the seawater temperature. The application of CMEMS data along with ECMWF ERA5 ensemble atmospheric forcing members proves to be beneficial in analyzing the uncertainties both in spatial and vertical gradient of seawater temperature.
Peru is experiencing a “gastronomic boom” that is increasing the demand for seafood. We investigated two implicit assumptions of two popular sustainable seafood consumer-based initiatives: (1) seafood is labelled correctly, and (2) the recommended species are healthy for consumers. We used DNA barcoding to determine the taxonomic identity of 449 seafood samples from markets and restaurants and analysed the concentration of total mercury (THg) in a sub-sample (271 samples) of these. We found that a third of seafood is mislabelled and that over a quarter of all samples had mercury levels above the upper limit recommended by the US EPA (300 ng/g ww). Additionally, 30% of samples were threatened and protected species. Mislabelling often occurred for economic reasons and the lack of unique common names. Mislabelled samples also had significantly higher mercury concentrations than correctly labelled samples. The “best choice” species compiled from two sustainable seafood guides had less mislabelling, and when identified correctly through DNA barcoding, had on average lower mercury than the other species. Nevertheless, some high mercury species are included in these lists. Mislabelling makes the efforts of seafood campaigns less effective as does the inclusion of threatened species and species high in mercury.
Discarding of prohibited, under-sized, or non-target finfish is a major problem globally. Many such unwanted or banned catches do not survive long enough to be released alive, creating complex ecological and policy issues for the fishing industry. In U.S. Federal waters, regulation requires bycatch to be avoided as practicable and bycatch of some finfish species is designated as prohibited species catch (PSC). By regulation, PSC cannot be retained or sold and it must be returned to the sea (dead or alive). Some PSC species have strict limits to further incentivize their avoidance and limit bycatch mortality and these limits can lead to fishery closures. Despite extensive efforts to avoid bycatch in the U.S. and elsewhere, unwanted catches still occur, creating the potential for substantial food waste. We present one rarely discussed approach to maximize the value of dead, unwanted or prohibited finfish catches. The Prohibited Species Donation (PSD) program utilizes trawl fishery PSC that would otherwise be discarded by instead donating it to hunger relief organizations. This program simultaneously provides food and reduces waste while avoiding inadvertent incentives for catching prohibited species. For 26 years, the non-profit organization, SeaShare, has worked with the Alaska seafood industry to distribute 2,660 t (∼23.5 million servings) of prohibited species donations (salmon and halibut), high quality seafood that would have otherwise been discarded due to prohibition on retention. The PSD program provides an example that addresses food security and social value, an under-represented perspective in the global dialogue on unwanted catches.
This study evaluated two approaches to the aquaculture of Limulus polyphemus with the ultimate goal of harvesting Limulus amebocyte lysate (LAL) at an industrial scale. To monitor Horseshoe crabs (HSCs), a combination of physical, biochemical and cellular components were examined for HSC cohorts in an indoor recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) and an outdoor on-bottom pen culture system (PCS) over a 6-month period. The metrics included body weight, hemocyanin (Hc) concentration, amebocyte density, and LAL reactivity. In addition, a simulated biomedical bleeding event (extracting 30% of the total hemolymph volume) was performed to assess the impact on physiochemical properties of the hemolymph and amebocytes. Overall, the HSCs fared better in the RAS compared to the PCS, with higher rebound kinetics with respect to Hc, amebocyte density, LAL reactivity, and with 100% survival in the RAS cohort. Further, hemolymph reinfusion (after amebocyte removal) was shown to improve HSC recovery time. In summary, outcomes of this research show that a RAS, coupled with adequate nutrition and monitoring can provide HSCs with a suitable environment for sustainable hemolymph extraction and year-round LAL production.
Norwegian salmon farming has grown tremendously over the last 50 years, and it now constitutes around 75% of the country's total seafood export value. The grow-out phase typically takes place in coastal waters. There are ambitions for continued strong growth. Five years ago, a survey revealed that the fish farmers saw the lack of available sea area as the industry's greatest challenge for continued growth. This paper examines the current and future situation for area use, needs and availability, for salmon farming in Norway. The paper considers several possible changes that can influence this, including the coastal zone planning system, new technologies for offshore, land-based and closed salmon farming, and new tax-schemes that affect the distribution of burdens and benefits from salmon farming. The main finding is that central government has several options available, if it would like to prioritise aquaculture in terms of access to coastal waters.
However, this would imply a full-scale overhaul of the present allocation system, as well as a dramatic change of the current planning system, which in turn means challenging local democracy – not a very likely development under the current political circumstances. This leaves the industry with two options; to reduce salmon lice, emissions and escapes and to increase legitimacy on all levels, and by granting the local municipalities a larger share of the enormous value creation seen in the salmon sector.
While the ambitious plans of doubling production by 2030 and increase it five times by 2050 certainly will require more and better coastal aquaculture localities, the actual extent of area shortage will to a large degree depend on the development of new production models; land-based, offshore, contained net pens and the production of large smolt. Success in these endeavours, could also have an impact on global production of salmon, by opening the market for new actors, thus reducing the Norwegian share and the profitability of the industry.
Globally, shrimp aquaculture has undergone a rapid development in the last decades, as it can help to satisfy the increasing food demand of a growing population. However, shrimp production can be accompanied by environmental impacts, such as land cover changes associated with pond construction, or the degradation of coastal areas through pollution. Environmental footprinting, has proven to be a valuable tool for tracing environmental impacts from human consumption back to their location and sector of origin. Here, we focus on the land footprint, which quantifies the area of required land resources to satisfy human consumption (of shrimp production). However, today’s footprinting tools often lack spatially explicit land cover information for land footprint assessments. In this study we developed a new method, which allows us to identify the land cover change caused by shrimp pond construction in Thailand without using sample shrimp pond shape polygons as input data. We use the global water surface explorer (using globally 3 million Landsat 5 TM, Landsat 7 ETM and Landsat 8 OLI images, acquired between 1984 and 2015), aerial photographs and land cover maps in combination with known aquaculture locations, to identify water areas in Thailand that have a high likelihood to be a shrimp pond and to assess the corresponding land cover change. We estimated that in 2015 an area of 377 km2 had a high likelihood of being shrimp pond water area. Further, we show that the construction of shrimp ponds in Thailand was responsible for the transformation of 552 km2 primary habitat, such as mangrove areas. Our results support the environmental footprint assessment of shrimp ponds in Thailand, while our proposed method allows identifying possible shrimp pond areas on a global scale.
Farming of marine organisms (mariculture) represented 36% of global aquaculture, with mollusks representing 58.8% in live weight. Mollusk populations in some locations are, however, threatened by degradation of the ecosystems and/or over-fishing. This threat is increasingly being addressed through Restorative Shellfish Mariculture (RSM), as opposed to mariculture alone. There is no general consensus in the literature on what can and cannot be considered RSM. While maximization of benefits other than provisioning services is often considered a prerequisite, in other cases the maximization of fisheries yields is prioritized. Here we define RSM as the farming of marine shellfish, implying some form of intervention during the species life cycle, in order to address negative socio-ecological issues arising from the unsustainable use of marine ecosystems, independent of the final ownership regime of the resource. Strategies for developing RSM were reviewed and classified along a gradient from the most conservation-oriented (e.g., habitat restoration, reintroduction of locally extinct endangered species), to the most fisheries-oriented (including some forms of fisheries enhancement), and classified as Non-hatchery Dependent or Hatchery Dependent strategies. We reviewed the targeted species and strategies implemented across 584 individual projects developed in the last decades in North America, Europe, Asia, Oceania and South America. We found that some 48 species, including 34 bivalves and 15 gastropods were targets of RSM in 34 countries. US projects accounted for ca. three quarters of the total (N = 438), with Philippines, Japan and Australia also being home to a large number. More than 90% of the projects involved five species, namely the eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica, N = 379), the giant clam (Tridacna gigas, N = 65), the Olympia oyster (Ostrea lurida, N = 25), the bay scallop (Argopecten irradians, N = 25) and the hard clam (Mercenaria mercenaria, N = 15). Of the RSM projects, 51% used Non-hatchery dependent methods, mostly habitat restoration providing substrata for settlement, whereas some 49% involved hatcheries. 3% of the projects combined both methods. This review provides an overview of the breadth, depth and aims of RSM globally, develops a broad definition of the activity, and proposes a structure for classifying RSM.
New Zealand has a large exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of which the area between the 30 and 50 m bathymetric zone offers the most prospects for shellfish production. Only 0.3% of this zone would be required to increase New Zealand’s shellfish production by 150,000 t. The Enabling Open Ocean Aquaculture Program, funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, is a collaboration aiming to develop technologies that will enable the extension of aquaculture into New Zealand’s harsh and challenging open ocean conditions, and facilitate adaptation to the escalating effects of climate change in inner shore environments. New Zealand has started expanding aquaculture into exposed environments, allowing farm expansion to meet increasing demand for aquaculture products but also enabling ventures into new aquatic products. Expansion into offshore developments is in direct response to mounting stakeholder interaction in inshore coastal areas. This document presents a brief overview of the potential zones for open ocean aquaculture, the influence of climate change, and two potential shellfish operational systems that may facilitate the expansion of shellfish aquaculture onto New Zealand’s exposed ocean sites.
Deliberative governance is gaining increasing attention in the management of natural resources with conflicting stakes. Although disputed knowledge is known to affect deliberation, the role of perceptions is understudied. Based on a case study in the Dutch Wadden Sea, a marine protected area, we examine the social representations of shellfish fisheries and marine nature of stakeholders within one deliberative governance arrangement, the Mussel Covenant. Our results show that within this covenant there are two opposing social representations of marine nature which both are not in line with the agreed objectives. Instead, governmental policies still form the guidelines to covenant decisions. We conclude that diverging representations and state-influence decrease deliberation. Therefore, we argue that deliberative governance is not possible without explicitly considering the different cognitive, normative and expressive meanings attached to the marine area or issue at stake. To achieve deliberation, values of stakeholders should explicitly be acknowledged and discussed, and state-influence should be kept to a minimum.