From a small niche in the 1980s, Aquaculture has grown to be the fastest growing and most highly traded food commodity. It is now the largest producer of fish products and more important than capture fisheries in terms of fish consumption.
Aquaculture has an important role to play in supplying healthy and nutritious food to a rapidly growing global population and has proven itself as a way to bring economic opportunity to rural areas, especially in developing countries.
Such rapid progress has not been without growing pains. Aquaculture has caused local pollution, disease outbreaks and costal degradation in various parts of the world. Consumers are concerned about antibiotics and other chemicals used in aquaculture production, even as these are being replaced by safer alternatives. The use of wild fish as feed for farm raised fish has also raised questions of sustainability.
For these reasons, ensuring the continued growth of aquaculture while addressing its negative impacts is a growing policy priority. OECD work on aquaculture has emphasised the role of coherent and integrated marine planning, market mechanisms to control emissions while enabling sustainable growth, and the development of indicators to help policy-makers understand and address potential challenges before they become costly or irreversible.
The report on green growth in fisheries and aquaculture production and trade (pdf) describes the aquaculture sector and the challenges it faces. It identifies some of the beneficial practices that have been put in place for the sector and makes recommendations to help encourage sustainable growth.
The OECD has also brought together experts in aquaculture to share experiences and discuss practical approaches to solving challenges in the aquaculture sector.
The proceedings from this workshop, held in Paris in 2010, are available on the OECD iLibrary. The publication presents a selection of key issues discussed at that workshop, including country case studies which provide specific examples of national approaches to aquaculture management.
Looking forward, the OECD will be investigating how licencing and related regulations can encourage or stymie growth in aquaculture. Our objective is to identify approaches to regulating the sector that address externalities, encourage an efficient sector, promote co-operation with other coastal users, and ensure that the benefits of aquaculture are fairly shared.