Advancing the Aquaculture Agenda

Advancing the Aquaculture Agenda

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13 Sep 2010
9789264088726 (PDF) ;9789264088719(print)

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Aquaculture now provides more than 50% of the global supply of fisheries products for direct human consumption. This conference proceedings addresses key policy challenges of the aquaculture sector. Policy makers, academics, industry representatives, NGOs and international organisations gathered to discuss the critical economic, environmental and social aspects of aquaculture.  This publication presents a selection of key issues covered by the workshop and includes a large number of country case studies, which provide specific examples of national approaches to aquaculture management.


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  • Foreword
    The aquaculture sector is uniquely placed to complement production from the stagnating capture fisheries sector and it has advantages in terms of controllable production characteristics. However, aquaculture poses undeniable economic, environmental and social challenges which may be poorly evaluated or inadequately addressed within current policy frameworks. In such cases, the sustainability of future operations may be compromised. Issues that may constrain the sector development and performance are among others the business environment (e.g. competing uses of land and water; introduction of new technologies to improve the overall economic efficiency of aquaculture to better exploit natural conditions) and administrative and regulatory structures that create constraints rather than underpin further aquaculture developments (e.g. regulation of access to resources; environmental prescriptions).
  • Acronyms
  • Chair's summary
    The UN Millennium Development Goals include cutting the share of the global population suffering from hunger by half by 2015. Progress was steady at first - before the rise in food prices in 2008 and the global recession wiped out many of the gains. This may turn out to be merely a temporary setback. However, there are fears for longer term food security, with some experts even warning of a ‘perfect storm’ as population is forecast to grow by 50% from now to mid-century, while agricultural land is lost to urbanisation and climate change introduces a number of uncertainties. This pessimistic outlook assumes it will not be possible to increase food supplies fast enough to keep up with demand.
  • Résumé du président
    Les objectifs du Millénaire pour le développement prévoient de réduire de moitié la proportion de la population qui souffre de la faim d’ici 2015. Des progrès réguliers ont été accomplis dans un premier temps – avant que l’envolée des prix des produits alimentaires, en 2008, et la récession mondiale annulent une grande partie des bénéfices produits. Cette régression pourrait n’être qu’un simple incident de parcours. La sécurité alimentaire à long terme suscite toutefois des inquiétudes, certains experts craignant même une « véritable tempête » puisque les prévisions annoncent un doublement de la population d’ici le milieu du siècle alors que le territoire agricole diminue sous l’effet de l’urbanisation et que le changement climatique introduit de nombreuses incertitudes. Dans ce scénario pessimiste, l’offre alimentaire ne pourra pas progresser suffisamment vite pour répondre à la demande.
  • Opening remarks

    Dear Delegates, Dear Chair,

    It is an honour for me to come here and open the Workshop on Advancing the Aquaculture Agenda: Policies to Ensure a Sustainable Aquaculture Sector. The OECD’s Fisheries Committee has for a long time recognised that the aquaculture sector is uniquely placed to complement production from the stagnating capture fisheries sector. Aquaculture has certain advantages in particular in terms of controllable production characteristics. Put simply, it is easier for man to produce fish in controlled conditions than in a hunter/gathering activity such as is the case in wild capture fisheries.

  • Key messages by the French Minister for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries
    Mr. Bruno Le Maire, French Minister for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, opened the OECD Workshop on the development of aquaculture Advancing the Aquaculture Agenda – Policies to Ensure a Sustainable Aquaculture Sector.
  • Growing the wealth of aquaculture
    Aquaculture, the farming of aquatic organisms, has grown markedly in recent decades, with an ever-widening production base. In 2007, for the first time, it supplied more than 50% of aquatic products used for direct food consumption. With growing demand, it is expected to expand further and in many markets, it will increasingly dominate the supply of aquatic foods.
  • Climate change, food security and aquaculture
    Hunger and malnutrition remain among the most devastating problems facing the world’s poor and needy. With the world population expected to grow by 2.6 billion between 2005 and 2050 (roughly equal to the total global population in 1950 of 2.5 billion), there are growing concerns about the long term sustainability of many existing food production systems to meet future demands for food. Aquaculture is widely viewed as an important weapon in the global fight against malnutrition and poverty, particularly within developing countries where over 93% of global production is currently realised; the aquaculture sector providing in most instances an affordable and much needed source of high quality animal protein, lipids, and other essential nutrients.
  • Norway: Aquaculture zoning policy and competition for marine space in aquaculture management
    Environmental sustainability is a prerequisite for the long-term development and growth of aquaculture production. Well-organized zoning policies contribute to the efficient use of space whilst minimizing the industry’s environmental impact. Thus, effective management of marine space is necessary to ensure environmental sustainability. Moreover, it also ensures balanced co-existence between different user-interests in coastal zones.
  • France: A case study on aquaculture governance
    French aquaculture is dominated by small to medium enterprises producing shellfish; in particular oysters and mussels. In fact, 85% of the total European oysters come from France and the remaining production is absorbed by the domestic market. In addition to shellfish, France also farms marine and freshwater species, including salmon, trout, sea bass and sea bream and increasingly sturgeon for caviar production.
  • Greece: Best practices in aquaculture management and development
    Greek aquaculture boomed over the last two decades, mainly due to massive production increases in sea bass and sea bream. Technological developments, favourable natural conditions and available national and EU funds for production infrastructure investments drove this intensification in production. The paper provides an extensive overview of the regulatory framework of the aquaculture sector, including legislation for licences, environmental protection, coastal zone development and the regulation of competition over land and water resources. It also specifies the role that public funding played in terms of increasing production volumes and product promotion.
  • Korea: The current status of and future plans for aquaculture
    It is acknowledged that the aquaculture industry has developed rapidly over the last half century in Korea. While aquaculture technologies have considerably improved since then, Korea’s aquaculture industry still has to face a number of important challenges.
  • Spain: National plans for the promotion and development of marine aquaculture
    The aim of a Marine Farming National Plan is to promote and develop marine aquaculture to achieve specific objectives of interest for a significant part of the country. These objectives can be related to research, development, innovation or any other activity and their achievement is considered to be important for Spanish aquaculture.
  • Turkey: Best practices in aquaculture management and sustainable development
    Turkey is a peninsula with a coastal line of 8 333 km and 177 714 km of rivers. Marine and inland waters suitable for fisheries and aquaculture cover approximately 26 million hectares. Official figures indicate that total fishery production in 2008 was 646 310 tonnes, with 152 186 tonnes coming from aquaculture. Aquaculture, although being a very young sector, has been increasing very rapidly, accounting now for 24% of the total Turkish fishery production. Turkey has the third fastest growing aquaculture sector in the world and aquaculture is playing an increasingly important role in the Turkish economy, as fishery products are the only products of animal origin that can be exported to the EU.
  • Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture
    Fulfilling aquaculture’s growth potential requires responsible technologies and practices. Sustainable aquaculture should be ecologically efficient, environmentally benign, product-diversified, profitable and societally beneficial. Integrated multitrophic aquaculture (IMTA) has the potential to achieve these objectives by cultivating fed species (e.g. finfish fed sustainable commercial diets) with extractive species, which utilize the inorganic (e.g. seaweeds) and organic (e.g. suspensionand deposit-feeders) excess nutrients from aquaculture for their growth.
  • Norway: Escapes of fish from aquaculture
    The environmental effects of escapes are acknowledged as a key environmental problem related to on-growing of fish in sea cages. Several recent literature reviews on the effect of salmon escapees have concluded that strong evidence of genetic and phenotypic differences between farmed and wild salmon exists and that genetic change has occurred in some wild populations that escapees have mixed with. Salmon that escaped from Norwegian fish farms between 2006 – 2009 represent 0.1 – 0.3% of the total amount of fish in the fish farms. Compared to the number of wild salmon migrating to the Norwegian coastline however, escaped farmed salmon represent 20-100% annually.
  • Chile: Experiences in controlling sea lice
    Caligus rogercresseyi, a marine copepod found in Chilean waters, is a native parasite which has been transmitted to farmed species such as salmonids. In Chile, this parasite remained under control until the end of 2006, when the threshold of infestation was about the five adult Caligus/fish. This ration grew exponentially in the following year, reaching 34 adult Caligus/fish per site. Following this, for general diagnosis and monitoring purposes, SERNAPESCA implemented the sea lice surveillance program that includes an Annual General Diagnosis by Cage of Caligidosis (DGJA) and biweekly monitoring.
  • Chinese Taipei: A control strategy for viral diseases in grouper seed production
    Groupers fish in Chinese Taipei which are consumed in particular during festival seasons or special occasions as a status symbol and are expensive. Grouper stocks suffer from overfishing and aquaculture production which has developed considerably since the 1970s to overcome the supply constraints posed by wild stocks. Due to their rapid growth and commercial profitability, groupers soon became the most important marine fish culture in Chinese Taipei. The government actively supported this development, e.g. by removing trade barriers for fry. Production reached 17 000 tonnes in 2008. The success in larviculture is attributed to a series of factors: mass production of fertilised eggs; aggregated hatchery businesses, experienced operators and specialized subsystems; and high efficiency in the production of live food.
  • The Netherlands: Best practices in managing ecosystem impacts in aquaculture through RAS technologies
    The Dutch finfish aquaculture sector is unique in Europe and worldwide. This innovative sector is based solely on recirculation aquaculture systems (RAS). RAS are land based fish production systems in which water from the rearing tanks is re-used after mechanical and biological purification to reduce water and energy consumption and to reduce nutrient emission to the environment. The water consumption in RAS is entirely based on water exchange to compensate for evaporation, incidental losses and to control water quality. Because of its controllability, water temperatures in a RAS are kept constant at the optimal rearing temperature for the target species.
  • Agriculture's impact on aquaculture: Hypoxia and eutrophication in marine waters
    Over the last 20-30 years aquaculture has become a major source of food and livelihood. As aquaculture production expands there are emerging threats from landbased activities, primarily from agriculture but also from an expanding human population. Environmental externalities of nutrient enrichment and resulting eutrophication and hypoxia have recently become key stressors at global scales.
  • Canada: The National Aquaculture Strategic Action Plan Initiative
    Aquatic resource development, including aquaculture, is integral to the economic and cultural fabric of Canada. Nevertheless, aquaculture presents a formidable policy challenge. Jurisdiction over aquaculture is determined by the division of constitutional authority between the federal and provincial / territorial governments set out in the Constitution Act, 1867. Between 1987 and 1995, governments set aside constitutional matters and established bilateral memoranda of understanding (MOUs) to delineate responsibility, avoid duplication and improve support for industry. Despite the MOUs, the regulatory framework governing aquaculture remains complex and costly to navigate. To help fulfil Canada's inherent potential in aquaculture for the benefit of all Canadians, it was apparent that a more strategic approach to sector development was required.
  • Connections between farmed and wild fish: Fishmeal and fish oil as feed ingredients in sustainable aquaculture
    All farmed fish and crustaceans have a requirement for animal protein and omega-3 fatty acids, if only at the initial fry stage. This has been traditionally met by incorporating marine lipids in feeds, hence somehow copying what takes place in the wild. Key demand drivers by feed manufacturers include scope for cost optimisation while adequately meeting specific nutritional requirements under conditions of rapidly changing ingredient costs for marine ingredients and their commercially available non-marine alternatives.
  • Barriers to aquaculture development as a pathway to poverty alleviation and food security
    The importance of aquaculture production in developing countries is reviewed briefly. Two sets of barriers to realizing the potential of aquaculture to alleviate poverty and improve food security and nutrition are identified: those directly attributable to aquaculture development policies and those arising from a lack of policy coherence for development (PCD). The latter applies to a wide range of sectors, the most important from an aquaculture perspective being energy, environment, agriculture and food production, and trade and sanitary standards. Lack of PCD is apparent at many levels: within development cooperation policies, between aid and non-aid policies within a single donor and between donors, and donor-partner coherence to achieve shared development objectives.
  • Conditions for establishing aquaculture production sites in OECD countries: Survey result discussion and summary
    In 2009 the OECD conducted a survey on ‘Conditions for establishing aquaculture production sites in OECD countries’. The questionnaire aimed to capture main fieatures of the regulatory architecture for aquaculture and to identify areas for improvement. The findings from the survey, integrated with relevant literature, are distilled in key messages to policy makers. These messages focus on (i) the need to simplified regulation and procedures in terms of access to and operation of production sites, (ii) the added value of stakeholder consultation in developing regulation and (ii) the importance of economic incentives.
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