Global, Regional and National Perspectives
New Horizons in Environmental and Energy Law series
Edited by Nigel Bankes, Irene Dahl and David L.DahlVanderZwaag VanderZwaag
Chapter 5: Regional approaches to aquaculture and a case study of the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), aquaculture is probably the fastest growing food-producing sector. It accounts for nearly 50 per cent of the world’s food fish. The current worldwide production of farmed Atlantic salmon exceeds one million tonnes, and constitutes more than 50 per cent of the total global salmon market. Thus, farmed fish is a significant source of nutrition for humans. In addition, fish farming offers environmental benefits when compared, for example, with beef production, since it involves less emissions and takes up less space. A recent consultation response from the Norwegian Seafood Federation (formerly known as FHL) to the Norwegian Parliament illustrates this. The Norwegian Seafood Federation declares that a sea area equivalent to a typical house site is adequate to produce an annual amount of 60 tonnes or 200 000 meals of seafood. Further, FHL predicts that global production will triple by 2030. However, several questions have been raised about the aquaculture industry’s impacts on the surrounding ecosystem and the relationship between farmed fish and wild fish. The FAO, for example, has stressed that Aquaculture is the principle (sic) reason for the introduction of freshwater fishes and experience has shown that the introduced species will eventually enter the natural ecosystem (either through purposeful release or accidental escape). Thus, non-native species in culture can adversely impact local resources through hybridization and loss of native stocks, predation and competition, transmission of disease, and changes in habitat, e.g. burrowing, plant removal, sediment mobilization and turbidity.5 One challenge often pointed to is escaped farmed salmon, which represent a risk of hybridization and transmission of sea lice to wild salmon.
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