Working Group on Environmental Interactions of Aquaculture (WGEIA)
Most of the aquaculture production today takes place in Asia. In 2018, ICES countries reported a relatively modest production of 3.3 mill. metric tonnes from freshwater (1.1%), brackish water (8.5%) and marine (80.4%) aquaculture. Efforts are now being made to increase sustainable aquaculture in ICES countries, and in particular of marine aquaculture.
Environmental impacts are one of the factors limiting aquaculture growth, and Working Group on Environmental Interactions of Aquaculture (WGEIA) has prioritized areas where improved aquaculture management can lead to better environmental performance of the aquaculture industry. WGEIA has reviewed laws and regulatory standards for monitoring and managing environmental impacts of marine aquaculture, and the corresponding thresholds values established by contributing ICES countries with the aim of improving current management options. China, the main contributor to global marine aquaculture (ToRa) was also included in this review.
For each country considered in the review, responsible agencies, laws and regulations, monitoring, mitigation, and knowledge gaps were identified for each of the following issues: effluents pathogens/parasite transfer, genetic and ecological issues (finfish), and effluents, pathogens, escapes, interaction with wild species, effects on sensitive habitat/spawning areas (shell-fish). Variations in the regulatory systems dealing with the main risks issues were found between countries. In general, the regulatory and monitoring systems for organic waste are well developed, but to a lesser and varying degree for the other challenges.
recommendations for prioritized research to elucidate knowledge gaps in
aquaculture-environment interactions that are needed for effective industry
regulation for the main risk issues (ToRb).
Looking ahead, a follow-on working group ("Risk assessment of Environmental Interactions of Aquaculture; WGREIA) will be established to (1) publish the main results from WGEIA in a peer-review journal and (2) address and publish risk assessment methods for environmental impacts of aquaculture.
Published under the auspices of the following ICES Steering Group or Committee