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#2003 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands.
Sustainable aquaculture: developing the promise
ANAMARIJA FRANKIC* and CARL HERSHNER
Center for Coastal Resources Management, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William &
Mary, PO Box 1346, Gloucester Pt, Virginia 23062, USA; *Author for correspondence (e-mail:
Received 19 November 2002; accepted in revised form 13 June 2003
Key words: Ecosystem integrity, Environmental impacts, Integrated coastal management, Polyculture,
Socio-economic impacts, Sustainable aquaculture, Sustainable development
Abstract. As experience with aquaculture grows worldwide, the concept of sustainable aquaculture is
increasingly recognized to incorporate both spatial and temporal dimensions of environmental, eco-
nomic, and social parameters. Practitioners have discovered that sustainable aquaculture must not only
maximize beneﬁts, but also minimize accumulation of detriments, as well as other types of negative
impacts on natural and social environment. Therefore, sustainable aquaculture development must be
advanced in a manner that is environmentally sustainable and that protects the quality of the environment
for other users, while it is equally important for society to protect the quality of the environment for
aquaculture. This paper provides a brief review of the worldwide aquaculture development in the last
decade, and gives a few examples of sustainable aquaculture activities in the coastal areas that are using
natural coastal habitats and ecosystems. Based on already existing national and international efforts to
promote sustainable aquaculture, key recommendations are provided, including what should be the next
Landings from worldwide aquaculture have been increasing rapidly in the last decade,
approximately 10–15% per year depending on the reference sources. According to
FAO 2002, total aquaculture in 1996 was 26.7 million tons, and in 2001 increased to
37.5 million tons. The rapid growth was due to the combined effects of an increasing
world population, decreasing catches from traditional ﬁsheries (Caddy and Grifﬁths,
1995), and changing consumer preferences in developed countries (Lem and Shehadeh
1997; Tacon 1997). Aquaculture production in developing countries and low-income
food-deﬁcit countries(LIFDs) has been growingabout 10% per year since 1970s (FAO
2002). In contrary, aquaculture production in developed countries has been growing at
only 3.7% per year since 1970s, and in the period between 1999 and 2000 showed a
decrease of 2.4% growth (FAO 2002).
Landings from the marine environment in 1996 accounted for 51% of total world
aquaculture output. Although the proportion of total aquaculture production by
weight and value originating from marine waters in 1996 is high (17.5 million
*Presented at the Global Conference: Oceans and Coasts at Rio+;10, UNESCO, Paris, December 3–7,
Aquaculture International 517–530, 2003.11:
metric tones), over 90% of mariculture production is still centered on primary users
of nutrients (e.g., aquatic plants and ﬁlter feeding invertebrates) and only 7% for
mainly carnivorous ﬁnﬁsh species (FAO 1998a,b). Moreover, when aquatic plants
are excluded from the marine environment total, about 86% of the contribution of
total ﬁnﬁsh and shellﬁsh production originates from ﬁlter-feeders such as mussels,
oysters, scallops and cockles. Predominant use of plants and ﬁlter feeders in
mariculture may also contribute to minimizing the levels of nutrient enrichment of
coastal waters resulting from other human activities and resource uses (FAO
1998a,b; Stickney and McVey 2002).
Although a few developed countries such as Japan, USA as well as European
Union (EU) countries feature amongst top aquaculture producers, production is
predominately an activity in LIFDs, which in turn are greatly inﬂuenced by devel-
opments in China. China is the dominant producer, followed by India, the Philippines
and Indonesia. Although Asia is by far the leading region in aquaculture production
(89%), Latin America and parts of Africa are showing steady growth (FAO 2000a,b).
Despite these trends, aquaculture development continues to be hindered by a
number of constraints. These include limited suitable sites, concerns regarding
negative environmental impacts, and multi-use conﬂicts (Goldburg and Triplett
1997). One problem is intensive use of the natural coastal habitats and ecosystems
for monoculture technology until it often exceeds the ‘carrying capacity’of the
area. This often causes environmental degradation, disease outbreaks, and reduced
growth (e.g., coastal mangroves devastation by pond aquaculture of penaeid
prawns; Binh et al. 1997; Treece 2002; Davenport et al. 2003).
One solution to avoid and lessen these problems could be extensive and balanced
‘polyculture’:anintegratedﬁsh farming practice adopted over 4000 years ago in
China, and over 1500 years ago in Hawaii (Costa-Pierce 1987; Chan 1993; FAO
2000a,b). Polyculture techniques mix fed species (e.g., ﬁnﬁsh, shrimp), herbivorous
species and extractive species (ﬁlter feeders, such as shellﬁsh, and seaweeds) in a more
balanced ecosystem-approach aquaculture (Naylor et al. 2000; McVey et al. 2002;
Davenport et al. 2003). While polyculture has not been implemented to any great
extent, it may offer opportunities for reducing or transferring nutrient loads. Ecosys-
tems are inherent recyclers of energy, and can provide the resources humans need as
long as critical processes are left undisturbed. Ecosystems, although frequently de-
scribed as ‘fragile’, have remarkable powers of resiliency. As long as basic processes
are not irretrievably upset, ecosystems will continue to recycle and distribute energy. A
healthy functioning ecosystem not only sustains itself, it also sustains local commu-
nities, regional economies and resource-based industries, in this case aquaculture.
Without proper management of all components within the ecosystem, the via-
bility of the ecosystem is threatened. However, since there is no consensus re-
garding the concept of sustainable development, no base exists for establishing
criteria for attainment. Frequently, a single-issue approach to ocean and coastal
management creates overlapping and uncoordinated laws and jurisdictions that
result in conﬂict and increasing ineffectiveness with increasing coastal activities.
The sustainable development of aquaculture requires adequate consideration of
interactions among environmental, social, and economic factors that accompany any
development (Chua 1992; WB 1998; NACA/FAO 2000). Around the world, sustain-
able aquaculture has proven to be a revitalizing economic force in a number of rural
and coastal communities –areas where sustainable economic development is often
difﬁcult (FAO 2000a,b; Davenport et al. 2003). In such communities, however, the
introduction of aquaculture into areas traditionally used largely for commercial ﬁsh-
eries and a variety of recreational activities have sometimes coincided with impas-
sioned user group conﬂict. To overcome this imbalance a planned, balanced and
inclusive community approach to rural economic and social development is required.
Through effective research, development, monitoring and incentive programs in
support of an integrated watershed and coastal management approach to maintaining
ecosystem integrity and balancing human values, economic development can be at-
tained in an environmentally and socially sustainable manner.
General facts related to aquaculture activities
.Aquaculture is a global, inevitable and a fast growing industry.
.Part of our past and present history, and its needed in our future.
.There are environmental, social, and economic problems.
.‘Use conﬂicts’are everyday scenarios in the coastal areas.
.Growing consumer demand for environmentally responsible products (e.g.,
Marine Stewardship Council, Marine Fisheries Conservation Program/SCS,
Protected Harvest, ecolabeling, ISO 14000, EMAS,
.Continuing development of indicators for environmental, social and economic
aspects of aquaculture activities, in order to monitor and evaluate impacts and
sustainability of its nature.
.Continuing development and implementation of biologically integrated best
.Globalization is an inevitable developmental process in the world, but in order
for each country to become part of the globalization process in a sustainable
manner, it ﬁrst has to become self-sustaining.
.Aquaculture on islands is a great example of how to become sustainable and
show how not to; they represent ‘small globes’and show how the process of
globalization and self-sustainability can be implemented.
Beneﬁts of aquaculture
.Increase household food supply and improve nutrition.
.Increase household economy through diversiﬁcation of income and food sources.
.Strengthen marginal economies by increasing employment and reducing food
.Improve water resource and nutrient management at household or community
.Preserve aquatic biodiversity through re-stocking, and recovering of protected
.Reduce pressure on ﬁshery resources if done sustainably.
.Stimulates research and technology development.
.Increase education and environmental awareness.
Risks of aquaculture
.Sediment hypoxia/anoxia resulting from organic enrichment (generally local but
.Carbon/nutrient enrichment of the water column and benthos (leading to redu-
cing conditions and hypoxia) (often with far-ﬁeld implications).
.Reduced levels of dissolved oxygen in a water column (as a result of eu-
trophication) (often with far-ﬁeld effects).
.Chemical, pharmaceutical, and toxicant inputs to sediments and water column
(with local and far ﬁeld effects).
.‘Debris’from foods, aquaculture structures, and support vessels.
.Consequences of ‘redistributions’, including bioinvasions, pathogens and disease
(often as a consequence of crowding), changes in natural community structure,
and introductions of genetically modiﬁed culture stocks (ICLARM 1997, 1999;
Naylor et al. 2000).
.Directly causes negative impacts and pressure on mangroves ecosystem
.Changes in trophic (‘food web’) interactions and productivity.
.Changes in biodiversity.
.Increase in multiple use-conﬂicts by and on aquaculture.
Activities related toward improving environmentally sound
Growth in aquaculture has its own paradoxes. Many ﬁsh farmers feed high protein
pellets made from wild ﬁsh to raise carnivorous species like shrimp and salmon.
This practice has been contributing to increasing use of industrial ﬁshing to support
aquaculture and squeezing ﬁsh resources in a ﬁshing down and farming up fashion
(Pauly et al. 2001; Watson and Pauly 2001). During the period 1985–1995, the
world’s shrimp farmers used 36 million tons of wild ﬁsh to produce just 7.2 million
tons of shrimp. Farmed shrimp is the most proﬁtable commodity in aquaculture, but
it is also the most polluting (Naylor et al. 2000; Treece 2002). However, producers
of ﬁnﬁsh feeds are improving the chemical, nutrient, and physical shape and
structure of food for ﬁnﬁsh. Field observations report signiﬁcant reductions in
accumulations of unused food stuffs. For example culture enclosures can be towed
to other grow out areas which allows improvements in the original benthic habitats
by reducing organic buildup, eutrophication, and hypoxia (Stickney and McVey
2002). Japan developed a new type of feed using substitute protein such as soy bean
cake, corn gluten instead of ﬁshmeal, and achieved a feeding efﬁciency approxi-
mately 10–15% less than the original feed (Morikawa 1999). Moreover the ap-
pearance of the ﬁnﬁsh color, taste and quality fresh meat was better than the ﬁsh
reared on fresh ﬁsh feeds. This approach contributes to avoiding sea pollution as
well as to more efﬁcient and sustainable utilization of marine living resources. One
of the tasks still remaining in the aquaculture industry is to determine how to
prevent pollution of rearing waters by artiﬁcial feeds.
In northern Europe and Canada considerable efforts have been made to assess
interactions between aquaculture and the environment. Most guidelines, modeling
tools and environmental standards are, however, directed at salmon farming. In the
Mediterranean, the environment is quite different from the one encountered in northern
Europe. Culture of sea bass and sea bream is expanding rapidly but relatively little is
know about its impacts. In order to secure sustainable aquaculture development in the
Mediterranean it is important that the industry and environmental authorities have
access to suitable management and regulation tools (Davenport et al. 2003; EC 2002).
The EU sponsored the MERAMED programme that studies environmental interac-
tions near ﬁsh farms in the Mediterranean and develops models, methods and standards
that can be used for production optimization as well as environmental assessment and
monitoring. The project was designed by the Norwegian company Akvaplan-niva, and
the work was carried out in cooperation with researchers from the Institute for Marine
Biology Crete (Greece), Institut fu
¨r Meereskunde in Kiel (Germany) and Dunstaffnage
Marine Laboratory (Scotland) (MERAMED 2000).
Another similar project has been funded under the EU FAIR
‘Monitoring and Regulation of Marine Aquaculture’(MARAQUA). This project,
which started in January 1999, is a ‘Concerted Action’, which means it does not
involve new research but instead concentrates on a review of existing information
and establishment of agreed guidelines for monitoring and regulating marine
aquaculture. The project facilitates establishment of a European Network to bring
together scientists, producers, regulators and volunteer organizations, in an effort to
co-ordinate and provide means for the efﬁcient exchange and review of information
(MARAQUA 1999). The overall aim of MARAQUA is to deﬁne scientiﬁc guide-
lines for Best Environmental Practices (BEP) for the monitoring and regulation of
marine aquaculture in Europe.
The goal of sustainable development, which is now integrated into the EU ob-
jectives, calls for use of a wider range of tools for environmental policy. It is essential
that ﬁsh farmers demonstrate a responsible approach to managing environmental
impacts of the industry and provide external assurance of environmental manage-
ment performance. One of the tools is the voluntary Eco-Management and Audit
Scheme (EMAS). The application of EMAS to the aquaculture sector should help the
industry improve the transparency of the productive process, while improving re-
source management and environmentally sound practices (MARAQUA 2001).
Another tool that can provide assurance of environmentally sound aquaculture
practices is through certiﬁcation of the international environmental management
system, for example ISO14001. The potential beneﬁts of ISO14001 to the aqua-
culture industry could include:
.Regulatory compliance –avoiding costs of prosecution and ﬁnes.
.Brand enhancement and protection –avoid damage to brand value and market
position by avoiding incidents and prosecution, enhance brand value through
.Loss of control and process efﬁciency –reduce costs, particularly energy, ef-
ﬂuent discharge and waste management.
.Meet customer requirements –ISO14001 provides external third party assurance –
link to quality and food safety issues.
.Improve performance –drives systematic management of environmental im-
pacts, often leading to other business improvements.
.Responds to stakeholder concern –provides assurance of good environmental
performance to NGOs, local communities and to other external interested parties
(Westwood, MARAQUA 2001).
In the United States, studies and projects related to establishment of protocols and
models for site suitability analysis were undertaken for different types of aqua-
culture in coastal areas. Poor site selection and farming practices will result in a
stressed ecosystem, cultured species and decreased production (Naylor et al. 2000;
Stickney and McVey 2002). There is an urgent need for more comprehensive
assessments and multidisciplinary research to generate data on the positive and
negative roles of marine aquaculture in the habitats and ecosystems of coastal
oceans. In addition, globally collected data on aquaculture should be integrated,
analyzed and generated as useful and accessible GIS information and maps.
Japan has been addressing problems of use-conﬂicts and limited space for
aquaculture activities by moving aquaculture offshore, as well as creating artiﬁ-
cially suitable sites for aquaculture (Morikawa 1999). Similar approaches have
been initiated in the United States (Cicin-Sain 2000). Two pilot project sites
(Hawaii and New Hampshire) were established to better understand offshore
aquaculture implementation, its complexity, interactions with the marine ecosys-
tem, and potential for long-term sustainability. However, moving aquaculture ac-
tivities offshore is not going to solve emerging environmental issues in the coastal
areas, sometimes caused by unsustainable aquaculture practices, but also ex-
acerbated by other types of uses (e.g., tourism, ﬁsheries, agriculture).
What is sustainable aquaculture?
‘‘The earth provides every human being’s need, but not every human being’s
‘‘Sustainable development is the management and conservation of the natural
resource base and the orientation of technological and institutional change in
such a manner as to ensure the attainment and continued satisfaction of human
needs for present and future generations. Such sustainable development (in
agriculture, forestry, ﬁsheries sectors) conserves land, water, plant, and animal
resources, is environmentally non-degrading, technically appropriate, econom-
ically viable, and socially acceptable.’’ (Code of Conduct, FAO 1995).
Sustainability refers to the ability of a society, ecosystem, or any such on-going
system to continue functioning into the indeﬁnite future without being forced into
decline through exhaustion or overloading of key resources on which that system
depends. In general, the concept of sustainable development is simple and im-
portant, but translating it into speciﬁc standards or criteria is difﬁcult, often sub-
jective and misused. Although many speciﬁc sustainability criteria have been
proposed there is no single universally agreed criteria set. In assessing the sus-
tainability of any enterprise or technology, consideration should be given to at least
.the sustainability (or continuity) of supply, and quality of inputs;
.the social, environmental and economic costs of providing the inputs (e.g., de-
pletion of resources elsewhere);
.the long-term continuity (or sustainability) of production;
.social impact and equity;
.environmental impact; and
.efﬁciency of conversion of resources into useful product.
When deﬁning sustainability, we must be clear what the objective of the deﬁnition
is, and come to a conclusion of what it means to a particular concept, in this case
different types of aquaculture practices. Sustainability can only be attained when
environmental conditions are appropriate and maintained, and this includes eco-
logical, socio-anthropological and economic aspects of environment. Therefore,
any activity, use or practice should comprehend and include the next six general
steps for sustainable resource management (Frankic and Hershner 2001):
Environmental resource assessment
Inventories of marine, coastal and islands natural and human resources are a ne-
cessary ﬁrst step for successful management programs. To enhance resource de-
velopment capabilities, a country/local community should acquire and maintain a
comprehensive inventory of the physical and biological resources of the coastal
area as well as their uses and users. The inventory will provide a database for
making decisions about long-term goals, such as ecosystem preservation, that might
conﬂict with the immediate development of aquaculture. This ﬁrst step is necessary
for assessing the coastal zone vulnerability to various activity impacts, and it
provides one of the basic requirements for development of an integrated coastal
resource management program. Environmental resource assessment has to include
a long term and in depth research studies of organisms that are being cultured or are
intended for culture, as well as understanding of utilized ecosystems biocomplexity
and healthy functioning.
Environmental impact assessment
Information about the impact that aquaculture will have on the environment must be
provided in a clear form to decision-makers and stakeholders. Impact assessments
should be incorporated in each phase of aquaculture development projects. It also has
to present clear options for the mitigation of impacts and for environmentally sound
management. Impact assessment should be based on the best available knowledge
and provide timely technical information to environmental decision-makers while
acknowledging uncertainties. The most important development in the environmental
decision process in the last decade has been the inclusion of environmental impact
assessments by regulatory managers (Power and Adams 1997).
Policy framework and regulatory measures
This is a basic tool for training and educating, as well as for local community
participation in decision-making processes. The policy statement should declare the
intention of a state/nation to review and regulate, in this case aquaculture activities
affecting the sustainable use of the coastal renewable natural resources (PAP/RAC
1996). Formulation of a policy framework for coastal and marine management must
address cross-sectoral issues that infringe on coastal resource management and na-
tional development planning. The basic approach is to review and analyze existing
institutional and legal mechanisms (including regulations and enforcement) for in-
tegrated coastal and marine management and aquaculture development potential.
Based on this review, the country should propose a generic institutional and leg-
islative framework to address coastal issues and encourage integrating aquaculture in
the coastal zone management plan. Through a series of application scenarios, the
policy framework will become a basic tool for training and educating decision-
makers, resource managers, scientists, stakeholders, and the public in general. In
addition, comprehensive policies and institutional legal frameworks should re-
cognize the potential beneﬁt of traditional tenure and management systems, and
ensure that they are incorporated into the rules and regulations for conservation and
sustainable use, where relevant (WWI 1999).
Socio-cultural and economic assessment
Socio-cultural and economic evaluations are important components of a systematic
assessment of coastal resources and potential aquaculture development. It provides an
economic framework from which differing adaptation strategies (solutions) can be
studied. In an assessment of alternatives, decision-makers should be provided with
information on how each option compares in respect to the relative costs and beneﬁts
for each aquaculture impact (Sorensen and West 1992). Identiﬁcation of the full range
of reasonable alternatives to resolve a conﬂict among competing interests means that
no feasible options for maximizing beneﬁts and minimizing costs have been missed.
Therefore, successful selection of suitable locations for aquaculture and the long-term
maintenance of site suitability require accurate assessment of both existing conditions
and probable trends in environmental, economic, and social factors.
The success of a coastal resource management program is based on the country’s
ability to understand how an effectively established program manages natural and
human coastal resources. It is necessary to establish monitoring and evaluation of
land use decisions and changes in coastal resources as well as in their integral uses.
The basic question of an implementation strategy is how to apply science, and
develop and implement best management practice (BMP) for aquaculture? Com-
prehensive BMP should become a ‘living document’, open to revisions and ex-
pansion (Frankic 1998). Established BMP provides consistent national standards
and practices for implementation of different types of aquaculture in the coastal
areas. They provide constant monitoring and control, strengthening environmental
protection and sustainable aquaculture development in the coastal areas. Aqua-
culture and other coastal industries, agencies, and environmental organizations have
recognized the need for BMPs. BMPs for site planning and for ICZM practices
provide opportunities for early intervention and collaborative review of new ac-
tivities. By publishing public standards and goals in advance of the submission of
plans by a private developer, for example, one can provide guidance before major
investments are made in site development. These standards (local, national, and
international) also provide objective measures (indicators and criteria) that can be
used by communities and environmental NGOs to question speciﬁc elements of
aquaculture development proposals, as well as to award if it is environmentally
sound and sustainable.
Monitoring and evaluation
Monitoring means acquisition, management, synthesis, interpretation, and analysis
of data with an emphasis on temporal and spatial scales. It should be coupled with
research programs designed to improve the appropriateness of routine measure-
ments and allow interpretations of the implications of monitoring results (NAS
1990). A useful monitoring program provides mechanisms to ensure that knowl-
edge is used to convert data collected into useful information. In addition, the
purpose for monitoring implementation of aquaculture practices is to assure that the
major policies (goals, comprehensive plans, and agency authorities) are properly
implemented. Monitoring will assess the cumulative effects of changes and assure
that management program elements for aquaculture are updated to reﬂect changing
needs and circumstances, consistent with its basic requirements. This approach will
provide a basis for a general evaluation of the aquaculture success or failure in
achieving its overall objectives of balanced development and resource protection/
conservation (Oregon CMP 1997).
Practitioners have discovered that sustainable aquaculture must not only max-
imize beneﬁts, but also minimize accumulation of detriments, as well as other types
of negative impacts on natural and social environment. One of the early lessons
learned has been that increasing the density of organisms in a culture operation
results in signiﬁcant waste disposal problems. For example the intensive culture of
carnivorous ﬁsh and prawns risks organic pollution from uneaten food or feces
(Brooks et al. 2002; Davenport et al. 2003). This results in a potential degradation
of the environment and a loss of suitability for the culture practice. Determination
of suitability for aquaculture involves an evaluation of natural and anthropogenic
limitations of a certain area in order to decide if the locality can support the activity.
The carrying capacity for aquaculture is deﬁned as the maximum number of users
(marine species) that can be supported by a natural or man-made resource without
producing negative environmental consequences to their future activity, pro-
ductivity and quality (PAP/RAC 1996).
The usual sequence in aquaculture practices has been ‘development and research’
rather than ‘research and development’, resulting in environmental damage in many
cases. As more research is conducted, more information is gathered, and more case
studies are evaluated, the levels of uncertainty will be reduced and our predictions
should get better. Yet, we must realize that when we address a new issue (e.g.,
introduction of transgenics, GMOs) our knowledge base is almost nil and a huge
amount of uncertainty therefore exists. Even if we do laboratory experiments, de-
velop the best possible models and make predictions, only the introduction of
transgenics and a complete study of their effects will allow us to reach some con-
clusions about actual effects. However, fundamental to the need for sustainability is
the development of government-approved and industry/stakeholders-led, for ex-
ample, ‘Environmental Codes of Practice’that incorporate science-based standards
and principles of adaptive risk management and that are supported by transparency
and accountability in monitoring, evaluation, reporting and enforcement.
Based on existing national and international efforts to promote sustainable aqua-
culture, here is a list of key regulations and policies that should continue to be
addressed, developed and implemented:
–Forming integrated coastal and rural/community management plans (IUCN 2000).
–Emphasize use of processed feeds and not fresh feeds such as low valued marine
ﬁsh (WB 1998; Naylor et al. 2000).
–Setting suitability standards and indicators for aquaculture (e.g., benthic fauna as
–Setting monitoring and evaluation mechanisms (M&E).
–Establishing quality standards (certiﬁcations) for environmentally friendly
practice, processing and sale in the aquaculture industry.
–Expanding ﬁnﬁsh aquaculture industry should farm low trophic level ﬁsh in
extensive, more responsible practices (e.g., polyculture of herbivorous carps)
(Stickney and McVey 2002).
–Developing integrated farming systems –integrated aquaculture–agriculture
(ICLARM 1999; FAO 2000a,b).
–Developing extensive polyculture practices (Naylor et al. 2000; Stickney and
–Eliminating government subsidies for ecologically unsound practices, and es-
tablish enforced regulatory measure for protection of coastal and ocean eco-
systems (the same should apply to agriculture and ﬁsheries).
There is a need to establish and implement environmental site suitability indicators
for sustainable aquaculture development. Indicators are key variables that signal
change, and can be physical, biological, chemical, social, or/and economic. They
may be directly measurable or calculated from measurements of a number of data
sets, or derived from other information (derived indicators) (NRC 2000). In addi-
tion, indicators can and should guide policy and help direct scientiﬁc research
(Frankic and Hershner 2001).
International, regional and national regulations related to environmental quality
standards and indicators are well developed for the control of water quality and
chemicals, although further development is required for sediment and ecosystem
quality (e.g., FAO 1999; ICES/NASCO). Environmental monitoring surveys should
use the best available practices and technologies for the environmental monitoring
of impacts and modeling of carrying capacity at farm sites (Frankic 1998). Multiple
criteria analysis must be considered when determining the suitability of a site for
different types of aquaculture. Regions characterized by poor circulation, extensive
accumulations of organic sediment, overwhelming recreational and commercial
endeavors (marinas, race-courses, diving, ﬁshing, port activities, etc.) will, gen-
erally, not be effective culture sites. In general, the larger the number of indicators
evaluated, the more comprehensive the assessment of aquaculture development
potential will be. The assessment process has to include:
–Environmental assessment and EIA.
–Social and cultural heritage assessment.
–Economic development assessment.
–Land use/land cover –acquire satellite images to identify each crop type, which
relates to better information on pesticide pollution and negative impacts of land based
activities; especially in the areas within 1 km of water (Kapetsky et al. 1987).
–Use conﬂict assessment and analysis, taking into account current and future
regional and local development plans (Frankic 1998).
Many of the difﬁculties that aquaculture activities face today with regard to impact
on wildlife, can be avoided through a proactive stance. This includes opening
communication channels with anti-aquaculture activists; continuing research into
rectifying the negative impacts of aquaculture on other wildlife; building en-
vironmental awareness addressing positive value of sustainable aquaculture and the
numerous ways in which it can beneﬁt social communities as well as natural
wildlife. Although, the level of uncertainty regarding certain issues remains sub-
stantial (GMOs, transgenics, etc), today’s knowledge and available technology
generally provide an adequate basis for action to remedy present situation
(GESAMP 2001; EC 2002; FAO 2002).
Often, comprehensive policies and associated legal frameworks have been
overlooked because development has been seen mainly in technical terms and
support has been largely focused on technical aspects of production. Also, policy-
makers have often treated aquaculture in isolation from other sectors and other
uses, thus ignoring important linkages and integrated system approach. The need to
incorporate political, economic, social, environmental and legal aspects has been
neglected, usually with negative consequences for this particular use. The recent
emergence of industrial aquaculture and growing competition for resources has
focused attention on the need for policy measures and regulatory frameworks (FAO
1998a,b; Cicin-Sain 2000; EC 2002).
It is essential for appropriate operational conditions to be established at all levels
(local, national, regional, and international) to make development of aquaculture in
a sustainable and environmentally sound manner attractive to farmers, ﬁshers, local
communities and other entrepreneurs and stakehoders. Often, the public’s lack of
interest in the issue leads to misconceptions and misinformation that later need to
be readdressed by a government agency and industry. In order to develop consensus
in an area like aquaculture that requires access to unbiased scientiﬁc knowledge, it
is critical that all the stakeholders have conﬁdence in their background information.
Therefore, a framework of common policy elements required for effective aqua-
culture management includes (based on GESAMP 2001):
.Cross-sectoral and holistic management.
.Rational, equitable and sustainable allocation of resources (includes siting suit-
ability areas for different types of aquaculture).
.Clear commitment by both government and public.
.Regional and global international cooperation.
The health and sustainable use of coastal and ocean products are of critical im-
portance given their role in food production, economic activity, genetic biodiversity
and recreation. In creating a ‘sustainable aquaculture’, it is essential to strike a
balance between the need for aquaculture development and the need for natural
resources conservation. In this context it is necessary to recognize and deal with the
increasing competition for resources (use conﬂicts). The diminishing role of the
public sector as a promoter of development and the globalization of markets must
also be taken into consideration. However, free trade and globalization ignores the
fact that we cannot trade ecosystems and community services (Hawken et al. 2000).
Therefore, inevitable process of globalization might become more sustainable if the
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