Sust. Aquaculture: What is it?

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Sustainable aquaculture aims to cultivate fish species with a positive impact on the environment, contribute to local communities, and generate economic profit. The lack of a universally accepted definition has led to the development of guidelines by organizations such as the FAO and Greenpeace, which promote the use of sustainable methods and avoidance of harmful practices. Other attributes include avoiding disease outbreaks, depletion of natural resources, and threats to human health while supporting local communities.

Sustainable aquaculture is the cultivation of fish species for commercial purposes through a benign, if not positive, net impact on the environment, contributes to local community development and generates economic profit. As a concept, sustainable aquaculture has evolved and grown along with mounting evidence that wild fisheries are being overexploited and an alarming number of fish species are becoming extinct. The negative environmental impact of conventional aquaculture has also motivated those involved in oceans, fisheries and food production to develop a comprehensive definition and set of guidelines for sustainable aquaculture. To date, no rigorously accepted and universally accepted definition has been agreed upon, nor is there international certification.

Aquaculture has been the fastest growing food production sector in the world during the last decade. Its growing economic, social and environmental impacts have led governments, supranational organizations, environmental groups and industry participants to find more sustainable means of developing aquaculture. Consisting of principles and provisions that support this objective, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) produced the “FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries”. Article 9 of the code deals with the development of aquaculture. The essence of the Code emphasizes that fisheries resources need to be used in a way that ensures their long-term sustainability, is in harmony with the natural environment and does not engage in harvesting and aquaculture practices that are harmful to ecosystems and communities.

The environmental activism organization Greenpeace, for example, worked with scientists, researchers and practitioners to come up with a comprehensive definition of sustainable aquaculture, which it is promoting to governments, the seafood industry and at international conferences on fisheries and the environment. . . Sustainable aquaculture, according to this definition, strives to use plant-based feeds grown using sustainable methods. Avoid fishmeal feeds or fish oil-based feeds from overfishing, which result in a net loss of fish protein; nor does it use wild-caught juveniles.

Sustainable aquaculture also farms only open water species that naturally occur where the aquaculture takes place, and then only in bag nets, closed pens or equivalent; nor does it result in negative impacts on the environment. Furthermore, sustainable aquaculture has no negative effects on local wildlife or poses threats to local wild populations and does not use genetically modified fish or feed.

There are several other attributes of sustainable aquaculture. Does not stock species at high enough densities to risk disease outbreaks and transmission. It also does not deplete local sources of fresh water, mangrove forests and other natural resources, nor does it threaten human health. Support local communities economically and socially.

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