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Perspectives for sustainable development of Nordic aquaculture

The Paban-Report

image of Perspectives for sustainable development of Nordic aquaculture

Aquaculture is one of the fastest growing productions and the value of aquaculture is now about to pass the value of capture fisheries. Among the Nordic countries, Norway in particular has been able to create a large aquaculture industry with high growth rates over a number of years. The other Nordic countries have only had limited growth, but have a high unutilised potential. There is a need to identify opportunities and limitations for increased growth with due care for sustainability and environment. This report identifies seven focus areas with special potential for creation of a sustainable, competitive Nordic aquaculture sector. These areas are new feeds, better use and reuse of nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus and carbon), value adding of by-products, technological and regional development, domestication of new species and reduction of energy consumption. The aquaculture sector with its strengths and weaknesses is described for each of the Nordic countries. The report is compiled on basis of contributions from a Nordic group of experts. It was presented at a seminar on Green Growth at the annual meeting of the Nordic Ministers of Fisheries in Trondheim, July 2012.

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Introduction

Aquaculture has a long history in the Nordic countries with Danish import and production of rainbow trout in the 1920s and the Norwegian success with sea cage farming of salmon in the 1970s as important paradigm shift transforming wild fish to a domesticated animal. In a relatively short timespan, aquaculture has developed into a considerable industry for the production of food, reaching more than 1.1 million tonnes in 2010, with Atlantic salmon as the most important species. The sector is still relatively young and has the potential for further growth and development (Asche and Bjørndal 2011). The important production Nordic areas in terms of volume are the Norwegian coast, Danish inland waters and the coast of the Faroe Islands. Aquaculture is now also developing in nutrient poor (oligotrophic) freshwater basins, in the Baltic Sea and in land based recirculation systems (RAS) in several Nordic regions. The salmonids Atlantic salmon, rainbow trout and Arctic charr are currently the most important fish species in the Nordic aquaculture platform. Even if there is a bias towards the salmonids, the farming of white fleshed fish species like cod, pike pearch, halibut and turbot have also reached an acceptable level of knowledge, making them likely to play a part of the future seafood production platform, given sufficient attention. A future for non-fish species such as blue mussels and kelp are also anticipated. Blue mussel and kelp harvest industries are already established but, based on existing and new knowledge and their potential as cleaners and converters of nutrients to food or energy products, these species look very promising for further green development.

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