Spanish aquaculture has made progress towards sustainable practices but should keep improving. (Photo: Fundacion OESA)
On the way towards a more sustainable aquaculture
Tuesday, June 26, 2012, 23:10 (GMT + 9)
A report issued by OESA Foundation states that aquaculture in Spain has evolved in recent years towards more sustainable practices and processes.
The document, entitled Assessment of Sustainability in Spain, was developed in collaboration with the main agents in the aquaculture sector and the Biodiversity Foundation and is part of the project Mediterrane-On Definition of Sustainability Indicators in Mediterranean Aquaculture.
The report analyses the environmental, economic and socio-territorial sustainability of the Spanish aquaculture from a business standpoint and based on its governance at national level.
The study argues that the current socio-economic situation is affecting the aquaculture sector and hinders the implementation of new business and development initiatives by the involved administrations and the management of policies and actions aimed at improving the quality of employment, sustainable production, use of alternative energy and the struggle against climate change, among others.
| Energy varieties used in Spain. (Graph: OSE a partir de MITYC, IDAE 2011)
Anyway, despite the difficulties, the report by OESA highlights that the aquaculture activity is directed towards the implementation of tools that enhance the sector sustainability:
- From a socio-territorial standpoint, local companies are noted for their contribution to local rural coastal area development. In this context, efforts should focus on consolidating the important role of aquaculture through employment and the strengthening of the initiatives to raise society’s awareness of the aquaculture activity and to improve its transparency and image;
- In economic terms, the assessment is also positive although efforts should focus on the diversification of species and products and on the reduction of corporate debt;
- Regarding the environmental aspect of aquaculture, the study recognizes the actions implemented to date and recommends that the improvements should be geared toward optimizing conversion rates of feed, to a greater use of renewable energies and to deepening the implementation of energy audits and the calculation of the carbon footprint of processes and aquaculture products.
Despite the progress achieved so far, the authors of the report stress that the commitment to sustainability does not have a full stop.
In this sense, they argue that it is still necessary to evenly and persistently strengthen and renew the commitment to an activity that is increasingly respectful of the environment and that affects the creation of wealth, prosperity and employment in the areas in which it is developed.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment (Magrama); the International Union for Nature (IUCN); the Business Association of Marine Aquaculture Producers (Apromar); and the group of experts of the Committee on Aquaculture of the General Fisheries Commission of the Mediterranean (GFCM) collaborated in the study.
By Analia Murias