ICES publishes first report on aquaculture

The ICES Aquaculture Steering Group, led by Michael Rust of NOAA Fisheries, was a catalyst for this work.

“ICES is certainly on the way to being for aquaculture what it is for fisheries. It is a community of scientists who apply their skills and research to ensure that aquaculture is managed intelligently. This includes both science and advice, as well as the path between. It is an important and often overlooked topic by the relatively small aquaculture research community, ”Rust explained in a press release.

“For me, the aquaculture overviews are a great opportunity to present existing aquaculture industries in ICES regions in an ecosystem context. To some extent, I think they illustrate how aquaculture is already managed with an ecosystem approach and can highlight areas where improvements can be made, ”he added.

Main topics covered include the likely impact of climate change on the future of aquaculture and the industry’s impact on coastal communities.

The inclusion of the interaction of environmental, economic and social factors is a first for ICES advice and includes the most recent knowledge on potential environmental, economic and social interactions to aid in aquaculture planning. It also indicates the growing capacity of the ICES network of experts to solve socio-economic problems.

Another first is to provide a future perspective on threats and opportunities. Climate change, biological or ecological threats associated with aquaculture activities and development trends (including emerging candidate species and production methods) are taken into account.

Terje Svåsand, from the Norwegian Marine Research Institute, led the work.

“The Norwegian Sea is an important area for aquaculture production in Norway, around 50 percent of national production and 25 percent of global salmon production is produced in this ecoregion. Today, salmon lice are the main obstacle to future growth. The sustainable growth of aquaculture requires production methods that reduce the environmental impact while ensuring the well-being of the fish “.

Svåsand notes that this may mean diversification into lower trophic organisms and fish species other than salmonids.

“The overview of aquaculture contributes to the knowledge of aquaculture activities in the ecoregion, of how aquaculture interacts with environmental, economic and social factors, and will be useful in on-going efforts to support cross-sectoral assessments and a possible future integrated assessment of the coastal ecosystem. “

Francis O’Beirn, from the Marine Institute of Ireland, will lead work on the next overview, covering the Celtic Seas ecoregion, which is expected to be released in 2022. Focus on the most up-to-date data possible. It would be important that the management measures identified in the regions are supported by credible and solid scientific evidence. “

O’Beirn said the Celtic Seas preview will follow a similar pattern. However, while the issues regarding interactions with fish will be broadly similar, he notes that the Celtic Seas area places more emphasis on seashells.

“Any overviews of aquaculture will need to take into account the broader environmental pressures that may act in combination with those derived from aquaculture practices and we will need to address a number of new issues, including interactions with conservation characteristics (e.g. birds), ”he explained.

Rust’s term as chair of the aquaculture steering group ends in 2021. He noted that overviews have been his focus since day one.

“In my own work at NOAA, it was clear that most aquaculture research focused on the needs of industry or technological development. allowed to cultivate in the ocean. Science had a role to play in increasing the quality and quantity of information for smart regulatory decisions, but that wasn’t really happening, at least it was random. What attracted me to ICES was its science-based advisory process. advice to focus on science in aquaculture will hopefully result in more informed decision making and a more rational licensing and management process for more sustainable aquaculture [industry],” he said.

Read it Norwegian Sea Ecoregion – Aquaculture Overview here.


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