|Aquaculture is no longer considered an environmentally
friendly industry. And justly so if we may add…
The problems associated with large-scale aquaculture industry are mainly of an environmental/social nature. The chief concerns are: deforestation; inefficient use of local water resources; excessive consumption of wild food sources (especially marine fish for feeds); use of areas with great conservation value; effluent discharge and eutrophication; chemical and biochemical pollution; pathogen outbreaks; inadequate compensation for local populations; competition with traditional local activities based on water resources, just to enumerate a few.
Of course that large-scale aquaculture brings benefits. These benefits have a predominant economical and financial character. Developing countries need foreign investment and foreign currency. Exportations are necessary to these countries in order to equilibrate their commercial balance. In some countries of Central America and Africa, large-scale aquaculture is indeed the main source of foreign currency. And of course Aquaculture creates job opportunities.
Sustainable operations can no longer advocate solely on benefits, they must provide the solutions for the problems as well
There are, however, effective technical solutions to these problems.
Proper integration of ecological niches in the culture system and proper
management tools for dealing with aquaculture effluents as a water source
could provide a steady and significant source of revenue for local populations
and effective effluent recirculation/treatment for commercial operations.
Best management practices can be adopted to avoid chemical or biochemical
contamination. Feedstuffs may be obtained from plant material rather than
from wild fish stocks. Proper site selection can avoid deforestation.
Conservation interests can be integrated in production objectives, etc.