SWEEP research informs new Aquaculture Strategy for England

Aquaculture-report

Researchers from SWEEP, the Centre for Sustainable Aquaculture Futures, and the Renewable Energies department (Penryn) at the University of Exeter have contributed to the soon-to-be-published English Aquaculture Strategy.

A new strategy to grow the aquaculture sector in England over the next 20 years is underway. The strategy has been commissioned by Seafish, the public body which supports the seafood industry in the UK, as part of of their Seafood 2040 (SF2040) programme.

SF2040 is facilitated by Seafish in partnership with the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (Defra) and seafood industry partners. The programme will look at opportunities within the seafood supply chain in England, and look to increase seafood consumption sustainably.

Neil Auchterlonie, SF2040 Chair, said: “The English Aquaculture Strategy is a vital component of the delivery of SF2040, and the opportunities and importance for this piece of work cannot be overstated. We look forward to the delivery of a piece of work that will help to provide a pathway for the growth of this sector in England over the next 20 years, based on the SF2040 foundations of collaboration, science and best practice.”

The new Strategy brings together evidence and best practise examples for sustainable seafood production from across the country, and will be developed by Poseidon Aquatic Resource Management Ltd in collaboration with the SF2040 Aquaculture Leadership Group.

SWEEP has been working in partnership with the Centre for Sustainable Aquaculture Futures and numerous experts from the fields of marine planning, science and industry to streamline regulatory processes and clarify evidence requirements in order to inform the new strategy.

The research, which was funded by NERC and Research England’s Strategic Priorities Fund, fell broadly into two areas; the licencing of emerging marine aquaculture (mariculture) developments in order to support sustainable approaches to shellfish and seaweed farming, and the planning of mariculture developments (particularly those around Marine Protected Areas {MPAs}) to optimise sustainable management of marine resources. Key findings from both areas of work were captured in published policy briefs, and have been incorporated into the English Aquaculture Strategy – the final version of which is due for publication in late 2020.

Dr. Ross Brown, SWEEP Impact Fellow and contributor on both areas of research, said:

“Done in the right way, in the right locations, seaweed and shellfish farming are among the most sustainable forms of food production. We reviewed available evidence and tools for determining whether on balance these forms of marine aquaculture conflict with or complement other uses of marine resources, including fisheries and marine protected areas. I’m delighted to say that our findings have been captured in the forthcoming English Aquaculture Strategy”

Prof. Charles Tyler, SWEEP PI and Co-Director of the Collaborative Centre for Sustainable Aquaculture Futures (SAF), said:

“On the face of it developing aquaculture within MPAs might seem a strange thing to suggest. but the fact is that some forms of low trophic species aquaculture appropriately managed may benefit biodiversity and provide ecosystems services such as improvements to water quality. As the pressure on marine space gets ever greater it makes sense to see where space can be shared for the benefit of both wildlife and people. Any such developments however need to be underpinned with high quality data as we must ensure that our marine environments are not subject to further degradation.”

More information on the research, and the emerging reports can be found on the SAF webpages at: https://www.exeter.ac.uk/research/saf/projects/strategypolicyregulation/

 

 

 

 

 

 

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