Working Group on Social and Economic Dimensions of Aquaculture (WGSEDA)
The Working Group on Social and Economic Dimensions of Aquaculture (WGSEDA) addresses the question of how to balance the negative and positive socio-economic consequences of aquaculture development. A special focus is placed on identifying the socio-economic benefits of aquaculture through its supply of food and other commercially valuable products while providing jobs and creating incomes.
In this report, the group summarizes their explorative work on social (i) and economic (ii) indicators to assess aquaculture impacts and gives an overview on emerging and Covid-19 (iii) pandemic impacts for the North Atlantic area.
Case studies applying the defined set of social dimensions (i) indicate a scale effect. A minimum farm size was required to have an impact of a visible scale for the different social dimension categories. Further, finfish aquaculture seems to be more social impactful than rope mussel farming, although the latter can hold important cultural values. In general, it could be shown that aquaculture boosts a potential significant pull-factor to incentivize people to remain in the area. Economic indicators (ii) for aquaculture management were found to be most relevant on local and regional level. Thereby, data availability and data needs were identified to be especially poor for indirect economic effects and on local level. In general countries with a larger aquaculture sector seem to have more economic aquaculture-related data than those with a smaller sector. The group sees benefits of expanding the economic data collection for this sector.
Collated observed effects on aquaculture of the Covid-19 pandemic (iii) in their respective countries revealed differing impacts, but showed overall that the shellfish sector was more severely affected compared to finfish (salmon) and hereby especially the oyster sector was hit hard. On the other hand, also examples of adaptation to, and within, local marketing, were observed.
In order to contribute and expand on the current frameworks, two main work priorities were initiated focusing on: a) social opposition and acceptance for aquaculture production in the North Atlantic area; b) social, economic and ecological implications of regionalized aquaculture value chains arising from the emerging calls for regionality in the context of Covid-19 restrictions.
Published under the auspices of the following ICES Steering Group or Committee