January 26, 2024


US study identifies policy solutions for balanced growth in aquaculture and small-scale fisheries



In a comprehensive study from Stanford University in California, United States, researchers delved into the intricate dynamics between aquaculture investments and small-scale fisheries, focusing on the need for thoughtful policy changes to foster sustainability, equity, and employment in this sector, Global Seafood Alliance reported.


Published in npj Ocean Sustainability, the study underscores the potential conflicts and benefits arising from the interaction between aquaculture development and small-scale fisheries.


Lead researcher Elizabeth Mansfield highlighted the global trend of governments promoting aquaculture as a means of achieving food security and livelihood goals. The study warned that unconsidered development in aquaculture could pose challenges to the vital small-scale fisheries that play a crucial role in many communities.


Drawing insights from 46 diverse case studies spanning 30 countries, the research team identified policy recommendations that can establish clear and equitable rights, reduce market competition, and address risks associated with climate change. The findings emphasised the importance of careful policy consideration to minimize conflicts and maximise positive outcomes.


One notable positive example cited in the study is seaweed farming in Alaska, where a collaborative approach involving fishers in aquaculture development allowed for engagement in seaweed farming during the off-season of salmon fishing. This collaborative strategy demonstrated positive outcomes for both aquaculture and small-scale fisheries.


The study explored various factors, including resource access, market dynamics, and risks from disease and climate change, and their influence on the interactions between aquaculture and small-scale fisheries. It provides decision-makers with valuable strategies for simultaneously investing in aquaculture development and ensuring the sustainability and equity of small-scale fisheries.


Key findings revealed that over half of the case studies demonstrated positive social, economic, or environmental outcomes from the interaction between aquaculture and small-scale fisheries. Trade-offs, such as increased competition for customers and fishing grounds, were identified in one-third of the case studies.


-        Global Seafood Alliance

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