WGSEDA places special focus on identifying the socio-economic benefits of aquaculture through its supply of food and other commercially valuable products while providing jobs and creating incomes.
The numbers of people engaged in ancillary aquaculture activities such as processing, farm construction, manufacturing or distribution can be substantial. Estimates indicate that, for each person employed in the industry, about three other jobs can be created in secondary activities. Despite these clear benefits, aquaculture also competes for economic, social, physical, and ecological resources and can also result in environmental degradation. Its development may therefore negatively impact other industries and livelihoods (for example agriculture and tourism).
Decisions about aquaculture development are often based on incomplete information, particularly in relation to socio-economic dimensions. As a result, inadequate accounts of how trade-offs are associated with different development options are made. This means socio-economic benefits may come at the expense of unsustainable pressure on ecosystem goods and services, ultimately jeopardizing food security and livelihoods. In some cases, the benefits of aquaculture are moving away from local communities to stakeholders operating at a global market level.
The search for solutions in the sector to meeting production, income, community development, and food supply and security needs will be critical for ICES countries and their global partners.
Photo courtesy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)