The Third Offshore Mariculture 2010 conference. (Photo: Mercator Media)
Offshore aquaculture is the future: mariculture conference
Friday, June 25, 2010, 01:40 (GMT + 9)
More than 100 delegates representing 28 countries and including 33 fish farmers debated the future of the aquaculture industry at the Third Offshore Mariculture 2010 technical conference staged on 16-17 June.
Many of the attendees at the conference opened by the Croatian Director of Fisheries Neda Skakelja in Dubrovnik, Croatia, said the sector’s biggest dilemma is the lack of space available to develop it.
For example, Turkey’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA) Director of Mariculture Hayri Deniz of the Aquaculture Department from said aquaculture worldwide conflicts with many other industries, especially tourism and energy production and a growing number of marine protected areas (MPAs). MARA thus introduced its new environmental law in Turkey moving inshore farms to offshore sites and creating projects to develop the sector sustainably.
“Aquaculture needs to supply the additional demand for seafood. And it will need to come from marine farming conducted further offshore,” said Conference Chairman Arne Fredheim, a director of the Centre for Research-based Innovation in Aquaculture Technology and Research (Create).
|Fish farming cages. (Photo: Marituna)
Aquaculture output has expanded consistently by 10 per cent annually for the past 20 years, and is expected to reach nearly 120 million tonnes by 2020, said aquaculture professor Branko Glamuzina of the University of Dubrovnik.
"Aquaculture is the fastest growing agro-business," Glamuzina said. "It represents the only serious means of providing enough seafood for the ever growing population."
Considering the expected increase of the world’s population, it is widely believed food production will need to be doubled by 2030, commented Torgeir Edvardsen of the European Aquaculture Technology and Innovation Platform (EATiP), such that greater efficiency will be necessary.
Although creating offshore farm sites incurs additional costs, several conference attendees spoke about faster growing times, better product quality, lessened environmental impacts and a lowered risk of disease outbreaks.
Potential benefits and cost-efficiencies of working with other marine space users were also discussed.
EATiP’s Edvardsen assured delegates that the offshore farming industry has a bright future producing high quality products.
“The main challenge will be the time it takes to implement these and other innovations and new initiatives,” he affirmed.
The conference programme also comprised:
- Overviews of the European, North American and Asian offshore sectors, including policy, legal framework and key research updates;
- Feeding and harvesting operations;
- Fish escape prevention;
- The effects and interaction between offshore aquaculture and wild stocks;
- Effects and treatment of hypoxia in cage environments;
- Codes of conduct and best aquaculture practices (BAP);
- Spatial analysis, efficiencies and the sustainable development of offshore aquaculture; and
- Practical advice on the construction of offshore cage sites.
By Natalia Real