Out of nearly 30,000 teleosts dwelling in our planet's water bodies, only hundreds of them are commercially exploited and prevail on the global food market. Yet, our estimates of the species actually underpinning global trade is severely hampered by inaccuracy and non-compliance in labelling and reporting. Here, we target ethnic food stores in two British cities (Liverpool and Manchester metropolitan areas), whose numbers are increasing throughout Europe, to examine accuracy of traceability information available to consumers. Despite the existence of thorough EU labelling regulations, we unveil a high level of non-compliance, with a diverse range of poorly-known fish species, often sold without any label or with erroneous information, as demonstrated by DNA barcoding. Results indicate that about 41% of the samples were mislabelled, in stark contrast with a recent study that, in 2015, found < 5% mislabelling in EU supermarkets and fishmongers. These results highlight that inspectors and governments might not be fully aware of the wide diversity of fish species traded, indicating the need for a stronger enforcement of the EU labelling legislations. Compliance with regulations is required not only to protect consumers, but also fish stocks, as for many of the species identified in this survey, population assessment is poor or lacking altogether.
Aquaculture, Seafood, and Food Security
As the levels of radioactivity in seafood have fallen back into the safe range, Fukushima fisheries are considering reopening. However, even if seafood from the Fukushima area were sufficiently safe to distribute to seafood markets, its value may be undermined because of the damage done to its reputation by the Fukushima disaster. We quantified consumers’ preferences for seafood from Fukushima and adjacent prefectures to examine the extent of the reputational damage to Fukushima seafood. We conducted a choice experiment to measure consumers’ willingness to pay for seafood from the Fukushima area. We also measured the impact of displaying ecolabels [Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and Marine Eco-label Japan (MEL)] on Fukushima products. The results indicated that Fukushima products are considerably discounted compared with products displayed as domestic; even products from adjacent prefectures are substantially discounted. By contrast, consumers positively evaluated locally labeled products. We also found that demersal fish are discounted more than pelagic fish that inhabit the ocean surface off the shore of Fukushima.
Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) can offer significant benefits in terms of economic conservation strategies, optimizing spatial planning and minimizing the impact on the environment. In this paper, we focused on the application of multi-criteria evaluation (MCE) technique for co-locating offshore wind farms and open-water mussel cultivation. An index of co-location sustainability (SI) was developed based on the application of MCE technique constructed with physical and biological parameters on the basis of remote sensing data. The relevant physical factors considered were wind velocity, depth range, concerning the site location for energy production, and sea surface temperature anomaly. The biological variables used were Chlorofill-a (as a measurement of the productivity) and Particle Organic Carbon (POC) concentration, in order to assess their influence on the probable benefits and complete the requirements of this management framework. This SI can be easily implemented to do a first order selection of the most promising areas to be more specifically studied in a second order approach based on local field data
Wild stocks of Pacific salmonids have experienced sharp declines in abundance over the past century. Consequently, billions of fish are released each year for enhancing abundance and sustaining fisheries. However, the beneficial role of this widely used management practice is highly debated since fitness decrease of hatchery-origin fish in the wild has been documented. Artificial selection in hatcheries has often been invoked as the most likely explanation for reduced fitness, and most studies to date have focused on finding signatures of hatchery-induced selection at the DNA level. We tested an alternative hypothesis, that captive rearing induces epigenetic reprogramming, by comparing genome-wide patterns of methylation and variation at the DNA level in hatchery-reared coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) with those of their wild counterparts in two geographically distant rivers. We found a highly significant proportion of epigenetic variation explained by the rearing environment that was as high as the one explained by the river of origin. The differentially methylated regions show enrichment for biological functions that may affect the capacity of hatchery-born smolts to migrate successfully in the ocean. Shared epigenetic variation between hatchery-reared salmon provides evidence for parallel epigenetic modifications induced by hatchery rearing in the absence of genetic differentiation between hatchery and natural-origin fish for each river. This study highlights epigenetic modifications induced by captive rearing as a potential explanatory mechanism for reduced fitness in hatchery-reared salmon.
Aquaculture accounts for almost one-half of global fish consumption. Understanding the regional impact of climate fluctuations on aquaculture production thus is critical for the sustainability of this crucial food resource. The objective of this work was to understand the role of climate fluctuations and climate change in subtropical coastal estuarine environments within the context of aquaculture practices in Heʻeia Fishpond, Oʻahu Island, Hawaiʻi. To the best of our knowledge, this was the first study of climate effects on traditional aquaculture systems in the Hawaiian Islands. Data from adjacent weather stations were analyzed together with in situwater quality instrument deployments spanning a 12-year period (November 2004 –November 2016). We found correlations between two periods with extremely high fish mortality at Heʻeia Fishpond (May and October 2009) and slackening trade winds in the week preceding each mortality event, as well as surface water temperatures elevated 2–3°C higher than the background periods (March-December 2009). We posit that the lack of trade wind-driven surface water mixing enhanced surface heating and stratification of the water column, leading to hypoxic conditions and stress on fish populations, which had limited ability to move within net pen enclosures. Elevated water temperature and interruption of trade winds previously have been linked to the onset of El Niño in Hawaiʻi. Our results provide empirical evidence regarding El Niño effects on the coastal ocean, which can inform resource management efforts about potential impact of climate variation on aquaculture production. Finally, we provide recommendations for reducing the impact of warming events on fishponds, as these events are predicted to increase in magnitude and frequency as a consequence of global warming.
Aquaculture production of finfish has seen rapid growth in production volume and economic yield over the last decades, and is today a key provider of seafood. As the scale of production increases, so does the likelihood that the industry will face emerging biological, economic and social challenges that may influence the ability to maintain ethically sound, productive and environmentally friendly production of fish. It is therefore important that the industry aspires to monitor and control the effects of these challenges to avoid also upscaling potential problems when upscaling production. We introduce the Precision Fish Farming (PFF) concept whose aim is to apply control-engineering principles to fish production, thereby improving the farmer's ability to monitor, control and document biological processes in fish farms. By adapting several core principles from Precision Livestock Farming (PLF), and accounting for the boundary conditions and possibilities that are particular to farming operations in the aquatic environment, PFF will contribute to moving commercial aquaculture from the traditional experience-based to a knowledge-based production regime. This can only be achieved through increased use of emerging technologies and automated systems. We have also reviewed existing technological solutions that could represent important components in future PFF applications. To illustrate the potential of such applications, we have defined four case studies aimed at solving specific challenges related to biomass monitoring, control of feed delivery, parasite monitoring and management of crowding operations.
The FAO Fishery and Aquaculture Statistics Yearbook contains all the most updated data on capture production, fleet and employment, aquaculture production, commodities, food balance sheets.
The objective of this paper is to analyse the factors that determine Spanish aquaculture firm survival to improve understanding of the sector dynamics. Specifically, this paper focuses on marine aquaculture enterprises and evaluates how internationalization, the environmental commitment of the firm, and the ability to innovate, as well as other factors such as a firm's financial and accounting information, may be associated with the decisions by Spanish aquaculture firms to remain in the industry.
The empirical analysis, conducted over the 2007–2014 period, is based on the Cox proportional hazard model. Our main findings reveal that those firms that have an environmental commitment are less likely to exit the industry than those that have no such commitment. Furthermore, our results also highlight the positive effect of economic profitability and long-term solvency on the survival of the firms and the negative effect of the age of the firms. Finally, we find that the investment in R&D activities and the internationalization of the firms did not contribute significantly to the model, indicating that they are not crucial factors for the survival of the firms.
Bivalve aquaculture has become increasingly important for marine protein production and is an alternative to exploiting natural resources. Its further and sustainable development should follow an ecosystem approach, to maintain both biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. The identification of critical thresholds to development remains difficult. The present work aims at combining the calculation of the system’s ecological carrying capacity (ECC) with the ecosystem view of resilience for a bay system exposed to bivalve (scallop) aquaculture. Using a trophic food-web model, a stepwise further expansion of culture activities was simulated, and the impact on the system was evaluated twofold: First, a recently developed approach to estimating ECC was used, and second, a resilience indicator was calculated, which is based on the distribution of consumption flows within the trophic network (sensu Arreguín-Sanchez in Ecol Model 272: 27–276, 2014). Results suggest that a culture expansion beyond present-day scale would (a) cause a shift in community composition towards a system dominated by secondary consumers, (b) lead to the loss of system compartments, affecting ecosystem functioning, and (c) result in a decrease in resilience, emphasizing the need to regulate aquaculture activities. The applicability and potential of this presented method in the context of an ecosystem-based approach to aquaculture is discussed. This work aims at adding to the ongoing discussion on sustainable bivalve aquaculture and is expected to help guide aquaculture management.
Mitigating coastal eutrophication is a global challenge. In many places where land-based management has reduced nutrient discharges, coastal waterbodies remain impaired. This study examined ‘bioextraction’ of nutrients from the water by oyster aquaculture in Long Island Sound, Connecticut, as an example of how aquaculture might complement land-based measures in urban estuaries. Eutrophication status, nutrient removal, and ecosystem service value were estimated through eutrophication assessment, application of hydrologic, circulation, and local- and ecosystem-scale models, and economic valuation. System-scale modeling estimated that current oyster aquaculture, via sequestration into tissue and shell only, removes an equivalent of 1.31%, and expanded production could remove 2.68%, of total annual land-based nitrogen inputs by aquaculture alone. Up-scaled local-scale results were similar to results from the system-scale modeling, suggesting that this upscaling method could be useful in waterbodies without circulation models. The minimum value of the ecosystem service of nitrogen removed by oyster production was estimated by means of an avoided costs method, which uses the cost of alternative nutrient management measures such as wastewater treatement and urban Best Management Practices to estimate the value of the removed nitrogen, to be $8.5 million per year, with maximum value at expanded production of $470 million per year. Removal and value estimates are conservative because they do not include removal by clams in Connecticut due to the lack of a clam model, or by oysters and clams in New York due to data limitations, nor denitrification losses. If oyster associated removal from all Connecticut and New York lease acres (5% of bottom area) and denitrification losses for both states are included, nitrogen removal estimates increase to 10% – 30% of total annual inputs. The total N removal could be higher if removal by clams is included. Additional research is needed for inclusion of shellfish growers in nutrient trading programs. These optimistic results are specific to Long Island Sound but the modeling approach is transferable and can be used to evaluate possible contribution by shellfish aquaculture in other urban estuaries.