When asked what organic aquaculture is, consumers usually understand the farming of aquatic organisms without the use of antibiotics or chemicals, whereby attention is also paid to the preservation of biodiversity, and to protection of the ecosystems and human life. Organic certifiers and other professionals in this area set the bar much higher, however. They often only recognize what they themselves have rubber-stamped because it is only with their own “organic labels” that business is worthwhile.
Next to feed, oxygen is the most important factor for determining the success of an aquaculture enterprise. Sufficient quantities of oxygen in the water ensure that the fishes grow well and stay healthy. Oxygen encourages their appetites and general well-being. It can even lessen the impact of temperature induced stress. That is why all fish farmers take particular care that their fishes grow under optimal O2 conditions.
Poland has many advantages in both extensive and intensive aquaculture. The country has the largest area of carp ponds and the greatest carp production potential in Europe; its fish-processing industry is one of the most developed and it has a well-developed education system for aquaculture and fisheries.
Lithuania’s fishery and aquaculture sector makes up less than 0.5% of its GDP, but the sector will see steady growth in coming years. Pond fish farming is the predominant form of aquaculture, but the increasing implementation of closed aquaculture systems (CAS), as well growing numbers of small and medium enterprises, will help create jobs, especially in the rural areas.
In Romania fish farming is exclusively freshwater and can be divided into the intensive farming of salmonids, and the semi-intensive or extensive farming of cyprinids. As in Croatia the production of cyprinids is in earthen ponds which are well integrated into the natural landscape and play an important role in maintaining wetlands, regulating water overflows from river systems, and providing a habitat for numerous species of wild birds, animals, and plants.
Among the objectives of the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund are support for the development of sustainable aquaculture. Each EU member draws up a strategic plan for aquaculture for the period 2014 to 2020, which documents its vision and priorities for the sector. Implementation of the policies that lead to the achievement of this vision is supported by the EMFF. Several of the Eurofish member countries that are also members of the EU have drawn up these strategic plans for the aquaculture sector. These plans reflect the very different aquaculture industries and priorities in the countries.
Criticism of farmed salmon and other aquaculture products is not new. Sometimes the allegations are about antibiotics, then it can be dioxins or supposed environmental damage. At the moment it is ethoxyquin that is under discussion. Ethoxyquin is added to fish feed as an antioxidant. Its use is legal and there are no limits for ethoxyquin in fish. But recent findings from research suggest that the substance is not entirely without risks.
The Danish aquaculture sector is one of the world's most efficient and environmentally friendly. In developing and expanding its aquaculture sector, Denmark has ambitious goals to promote economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable production.
In November 2015 the US Food and Drug Administration FDA gave its approval for genetically modified salmon to enter the human food chain. The concerns of environmental, animal welfare, and consumer protection organisations were rejected. Transgenic salmon would not even have to be specially marked. Only two months later the authorization was suspended because details on product labelling had to be addressed again after all. However, the market launch is only postponed, not cancelled.