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Working for the present and future of aquaculture

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By Milthon Lujan

Copenhagen, Denmark.- Aquaculture is one of the fastest growing food production sectors, with its volume now accounting for more than half of world seafood production. In 2016, the practice accounted for 64% of total fishery products sales at 232 billion US dollars. Projections are that the growth in seafood supply attributable to aquaculture over the last few decades will continue.

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Future planning

Recognizing this dramatic growth and influence on the food system, society, and the environment, ICES is expanding its work on science and advisory topics contributing to the sustainable development of aquaculture.

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Two new expert groups have now been formed: one focusing on planning for aquaculture and one on interactions between aquaculture and the environment. Both will be facilitated by a steering group established in 2017.

The Working Group on Scenario Planning on Aquaculture (WGSPA) will identify options for local industry development, optimized to minimize negative impacts to ecological and social systems and, where possible, to maximize positive ones. This ?will help managers and society understand the implications of different pathways of development, including the production potential. A key group output will be an example Atlas of Marine Aquaculture Potential.

WGSPA is meeting for the first time at the ICES Headquarters in Copenhagen 8-10 November and is seeking expertise in marine spatial analysis, economics, environmental carrying capacity and growth models, social systems, and food security.

Ecosystem effects

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The Working Group on Environmental Interactions of Aquaculture (WGEIA), meeting 10-14 December, will prioritize areas where improved aquaculture management can lead to better environmental performance of the industry. The tools needed for sustainable development and management rely on a better understanding of how such farming interacts with the environment. This is what WGEIA will seek to improve, building risk/benefit models for the highest priority areas.

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The group will comprise experts in aquaculture alongside those in the areas of environment interactions and aquaculture regulation, among others.

Those wishing to join either group should contact Maria Lifentseva (maria.lifentseva@ices.dk) at the ICES Secretariat.

Source: International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES)

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