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Working Group on Environmental Interactions of Aquaculture (WGEIA)

Terje Svåsand

Record created 02/12/2020 | Last updated 02/12/2020
ICES Scientific Reports volume 2, issue 112


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 aq-uaculture 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 in-dustry. WGEIA has reviewed laws and regulatory standards for monitoring and managing en-vironmental impacts of marine aquaculture, and the corresponding thresholds values estab-lished 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 re-view. For each country considered in the review, responsible agencies, laws and regulations, moni-toring, mitigation, and knowledge gaps were identified for each of the following issues: efflu-ents pathogens/parasite transfer, genetic and ecological issues (finfish), and effluents, patho-gens, 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 be-tween 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. WGEIA makes 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