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.
Open Blue is a pioneer of fish farming in the open sea. Twelve kilometers off the Caribbean coast of Panama the company has for several years operated the world's largest offshore fish farm in which cobia grows in what is virtually its natural environment. And although this type of mariculture is expensive it pays off because the quality and taste of the resulting fish are excellent. Offshore the fish never swim twice in the same water...
Regional Fisheries Bodies are a mechanism enabling nations to work together in order to study, manage, conserve or develop sustainable fisheries. They are practically the only way to govern fish stocks that transcend national jurisdictions, that are shared by countries or that populate the high seas.
Is the era of salmon farming in floating net cages coming to an end? More and more critics are calling for a shift of production to land-based facilities because of the numerous risks to which open systems in the sea are exposed: adverse weather conditions, toxic algal blooms, jellyfish plagues, diseases and parasites. Added to these hazards is the fact that floating farms have a strong impact on the marine environment. But would land-based farming really solve all the problems?
Well-being, growth and health of fishes depend to a large extent on whether particular physical and chemical parameters of their habitat correspond to the specific needs of their species. A large number of important measurements are taken during water analyses, but oxygen content, pH value and temperature are the most important factors. They must be constantly monitored in order to enable timely detection of any dangerous deviations.
Offshore fish farming has for some years now been considered a way to prevent some of the problems confronting coastal or inshore aquaculture. Offshore farming does have its own challenges, but these could perhaps be tackled using experience from the offshore oil and gas sector.