Sustainable aquaculture and aquatic resources management

By Paul Olin, 22/09/2010 | .mp3, 6.24 MB | 1088 views | Download soundtrack Stream soundtrack
Programme: Global Conference on Aquaculture 2010

This review covers the status and trends in aquaculture development in North America including the nations of Canada and the United States of America. The review is organised by thematic areas including the social and economic background of the region; general characteristics of the sector; resources, services and technologies; aquaculture and environment; markets and trade; contribution of aquaculture to food security, social and economic development; external pressures on the sector; the role of shared information, research, training, extension and networking; governance and management of the sector; and the implementation of the Bangkok Declaration.

FAO has projected the need for an additional 1.3 to 1.4 million tonnes of seafood annually to supply projected increases in global consumption. In North America, per capita consumption is now around 8 kg. With the population expected to add 52 million people by 2025, approximately 416,000 tonnes of additional seafood will be required to meet demand. Canada and the United States are industrialised nations with the natural resources and investment capital to significantly expand aquaculture production to meet this demand. The Canadian and United States of America’s gross domestic products (GDP) are US$ 1.3 and US$ 13.2 trillion, respectively. While the economies of Canada and the United States derive their growth and GDP mainly from the service and manufacturing sectors, primary-sector industries such as agriculture (including aquaculture) are important, especially in a regional context.

General characteristics of the aquaculture sector in North America include finfish production, which is dominated by salmon and catfish, and shellfish production, primarily of oysters, mussels and clams. North American aquaculture production in 2007 was 695,050 tonnes valued at US$ 1.7 billion, up from 536,169 tonnes in 1998 for an Annual Percentage Rate (APR) of 2.9 for the decade. American production of 526 281 tonnes eclipsed Canadian production of 168,769 tonnes, but product value of US$ 912 million and US$ 788 million, respectively, were more closely matched, reflecting the higher value of Canada’s primary product of Atlantic salmon relative to channel catfish, the primary species produced in the United States. Culture methods include marine net-pens for salmon, freshwater ponds for channel catfish, and a variety of on and off-bottom techniques for shellfish.

Canada is the second largest country in the world comprising nearly 10 million km², while the United States is slightly smaller at 9.6 million km². The American water surface area is 470,131 km² or about half of Canada’s 891,163 km². The American coastline is 19,924 km long, while the Canadian coastline is much longer at 202,080 km. These natural resources provide an abundance of potentially suitable sites for supporting both marine and freshwater aquaculture. While resources are abundant, there are often conflicting demands, and marine spatial planning is increasingly seen as a tool to allocate access.

The North American service sector is well developed, with ready access to feeds, equipment, manufacturing, fingerlings, seedstock and veterinary services. Concerns over the use and future limitations of fishmeal and oil as feed ingredients have spawned alternative feed initiatives to identify suitable alternate feed ingredients. Health management and biosecurity are high priorities for producers and regulatory agencies in North America. Canada implements a National Aquatic Animal Health Program and the United States has developed a National Aquatic Animal Health plan that is under final review for adoption in 2010.

Canada and the United States have well established regulatory programmes and environmental values that demand sustainable aquaculture practices to protect natural resources. As a result, the industries have developed environmental policies and codes of practice that protect the environment in which they operate. Inherent in this process is a focus on ecosystem-based management and environmental approaches to aquaculture. Integrated multi-trophic aquaculture is being investigated as one technique to enhance environmental compatibility.

Markets and trade vary considerably between Canada and the United States. Nearly 90 percent of Canada’s aquaculture products were exported in 2007 and 96 percent of sales were to American consumers. Total value of Canadian exports was US$ 613 million in 2007. Most American production is consumed domestically and in 2008, Americans imported 83 percent of seafood consumed worth a record US$ 14.2 billion. Trade and export of aquaculture products require a comprehensive and stringent food safety programme, and the Canadian and American seafood safety programmes are recognised as models throughout the world.

Direct and indirect employment in North American aquaculture was estimated at 52,129 jobs in 2007, up from 40,212 in 1998 for an APR gain of 2.9 percent. Aquaculture is a very small segment of North American agricultural production; however, on a regional basis it is extremely important to some communities in both Canada and the United States.

The North American aquaculture industry has adapted well to animal health challenges in the past. In the future, challenges related to climate change, global warming, sea level rise, severe storms and ocean acidification will require adaptive management and flexibility to sustain the industry. The need for scientific research remains critical to enhance the growth and diversity of North American aquaculture. Federal, state and provincial government research facilities are dedicated to research on new species development, selective breeding to improve performance and seed quality, enhanced grow out technologies, health management, and improved husbandry, nutrition and feeds.

Aquaculture is managed in North America by a combination of federal, provincial, state and local authorities, and over the last decade governments in both Canada and the United States have made concerted efforts to improve aquaculture governance. This must continue to improve regulation of the industry and balance the need to protect the environment, sustain fisheries and enable a competitive industry to flourish.

Canada and the United States have supported aquaculture over the last decade and both governments have created national aquaculture development plans in keeping with guidance provided in the 2000 Bangkok Declaration and Strategy.



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