As we celebrate World Oceans Day here is a look at what some countries are doing with sustainable aquaculture programs to combat overfishing
By Fabian Dawson
More than half of the world’s fish and seafood products come from aquaculture.
The increasing demand and the simultaneous decline of the natural stocks due to overfishing have led to strong growth of the aquaculture industry for decades.
The United Nations reports that in Asia, there will be no fish stocks for commercial fishing by 2048.
According to the Global Aquaculture Alliance aquaculture production is projected to grow from 47.2 million metric tons in 2006 to 93.6 million metric tons by 2030, while wild fisheries production is expected to decline from 64.5 million metric tons to 58.2 million metric tons during that same time.
To feed the world’s growing population, aquaculture has to deliver an additional 46.4 million metric tons to meet the world’s seafood needs, the organization said.
“As salmon farmers we use the ocean, and we know healthy oceans help ensure healthy fish and healthy environments,” said the Global Salmon Initiative, (GSI)
“Oceans are shared waters, so we have an individual and a shared responsibility to raise awareness and educate others to ensure these precious resources are protected. Under the guidance of UN, GSI members are committed to working together to promote continuous improvements in industry sustainability to conserve our oceans.”
Here are what some countries are doing to boost sustainable aquaculture to feed the world:
The Scottish government is to work in tandem with the country’s fish farmers to address health challenges and help the industry grow sustainably with a 10-year Farmed Fish Health Framework, that aims to not only enable growth but also minimize impacts on the environment. The framework has six work streams which will deal with fish health issues and review sea lice protocols. A separate work stream will be set up to cover wild and farmed fish interactions, and will include representatives from both sectors. Aquaculture in Scotland supports 12,000 jobs, many of them well paid, and workers in the sector were the backbone of their Highlands communities, the government said.
Norway, ranked as one of the best countries for green living, will further develop the aquaculture industry to churn its economy, sustain the environment and feed the world, the country’s prime minister Erna Solberg has said. has also put into action a High-level Panel on Building a Sustainable Ocean Economy. The 2.6 million tons of seafood exported from Norway in 2017 is equivalent of 36 million meals every day, year round. The country seafood worth 94.5 billion Norwegian kroner (11.7 billion U.S. dollars) in 2017, a record high both in value and volume, the Norwegian Seafood Council said. Salmon is the most important species for Norwegian seafood exports, with over 68 percent of the total export value and 38 percent of the volume, according to the council.
A plunging fish catch in 2017 — for the fourth consecutive year — has Japan’s agriculture ministry considering drastic revisions to its fisheries resources control efforts, as well as regulatory reform to encourage expansion of the commercial fish farming industry. Japan’s fish hauls totaled a record low of 4.3 million metric tons, sinking 1.3% from the previous year, according to a government survey released by the agriculture ministry. The government regards aquaculture as a key to attracting newcomers to the fishing industry. The agency aims to promote investment and the use of cutting-edge technologies in the aquafarming sector.
A self-sustaining ‘future food city’, featuring a mixed crop cultivation of vegetables, seaweed and fish, is being planned off the coast of Singapore. The “Oceanus Aquapolis” would be a multi-storey structure that generates its own solar electricity and harvests rainwater for aquaponics. Singapore imports 90% of its food, making it one of the most food insecure countries in the world.
China has made expanding aquaculture a priority of the government’s 13th Five-Year Fisheries Development Plan. In 2016, China produced 51.4 million tonnes of farmed fish, accounting for more than 60 percent of global fish production from aquaculture. China has a target of increasing its aquaculture production by 15.4 million metric tons by 2025. China is also building a $2 billion fish farm in French Polynesia – its second-largest investment in the Pacific while providing Norway with giant-aquaculture infrastructure (pictured) for fish farming.
The Philippines is the world’s fifth-biggest tilapia producer, behind Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia and China. A quarter of fishermen in the Philippines use destructive fishing methods — including explosives, poison and crowbars to pry open coral — even though they are illegal, according to a study by US researchers. The Philippine Government and private sector are currently preparing the Comprehensive National Fisheries Industry Development Plan (CNFIDP). One of its components is Aquaculture Development and Management.
THE aquaculture sector is fast emerging as a potential source of revenue and job creation in the oil-dependent economy of Brunei. The Sultanate is now considered as one of the largest producers of rostris blue shrimp in the world thanks to high-technology and computerised farming techniques. Brunei’s Fisheries Department has set a target to increase aquaculture revenue from BND9 million in 2015 to BND400 million per year by 2020. Barramundi Asia, a Singaporean fish farming firm, recently signed a deal with the government to invest BND300 million to rear barramundi (sea bass) in Brunei waters.
India is among the top three seafood producers in the world, but consumption lags way behind. Over 900,000 tonnes of seafood worth $4.7 billion was exported in FY16, according to the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA). India’s current five-year National Fisheries Action Plan, which runs through 2020, has defined goals for enhancing fish production and productivity as outlined in the country’s concept of a “blue revolution,” which aims to maximize India’s fisheries and aquaculture resources. India’s National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development offers easy access to credit for companies wishing to set up fish farms.
Iceland’s largest salmon producer, Arnalax, recently voiced ambitions to grow the industry substantially – from its current level of 15,000 tonnes a year to 50,000 tonnes within five years. All Icelandic sea farms are obliged to deposit into a special aquaculture environmental fund. The objective of the fund is to promote research concerning the sea farming areas and the main beneficiaries of the fund has been The Marine Research Institute of Iceland.
America’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA) is setting a goal to expand marine aquaculture production in the US by at least 50 per cent by the year 2020. The organization recently released its Marine Aquaculture Strategic Plan, which is focusing on the goals of regulatory efficiency, improving tools and technology and keeping the public informed.
Currently, the US imports over 90 per cent of its seafood, about half of which is farmed. Aquaculture production employs about 40,000 people in the US.