The workshop will see ICES pool its expertise and resources to deliver advice on the possible effects of farmed salmon on populations of their wild Atlantic counterparts. Prompted by a request from the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO), the main focus of the advice will be threefold: the impacts of sea lice, genetic interactions between farmed escapees and wild salmon, and the influence on wild salmon production.
Based on these key issues, ICES will also update both the findings of the ICES/NASCO symposium in 2005 on the impacts of aquaculture on wild stocks and last year's advice provided to the OSPAR Commission on interactions between wild and captive fish stocks.
All this will be carried out 1-3 March, 2016 in the Workshop to Address the NASCO Request for Advice on Possible Effects of Salmonid Aquaculture on Wild Atlantic Salmon Populations (WKCULEF).
ICES has long been a voice on aquaculture-environment interactions. In its Strategic Plan 2014-2018, aquaculture is laid down as a strategic initiative, signalling an agreement to further develop science, advisory, and data work in this area.
To kick start this initiative, an Aquaculture Dialogue Meeting was held last June in Bergen, Norway, which brought together industry representatives, stakeholders, policy-managers, and scientists to discuss how ICES can best provide science and information to decision-makers in support of sustainable aquaculture.
ICES recognizes the need to produce advice that is relevant to the evolving policy contexts in the North Atlantic and that is inclusive of the rapidly-developing science on these issues around the globe.
The global demand for seafood is ever-increasing, and the role of aquaculture in meeting this demand is more important than ever. Indeed, the aquaculture sector leapt from accounting for a 3.2% share of total fisheries production in 1950 to 47% in 2011. The rapid development of the sector heightens the need for research into the interaction between aquaculture and the environment, including issues such as climate change, the development of safe and suitable aquaculture pens, disease management, and parasite control.
The advice will be issued in May 2016.
Atlantic salmon in aquaculture pens; photo: Maricult AS