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English Aquaculture Could Help UK Food Security

by the Fish Site Editor
03 December 2009, at 12:00am

UK - A recent government-sponsored workshop concluded that increased English aquaculture production could help to contribute to increased food security across the UK.

The security of global fish stocks was labelled “very unfavourable” in a recent assessment of UK food security (the access to affordable safe and nutritious food). Yet, increased English aquaculture production could help to contribute to increased local production as a means of securing future supply, supporting local economies and delivering a carbon-efficient outcome.

At a two-day event, co-sponsored by the Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science (Cefas) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), organisers highlighted the fact that the UK population is forecast to grow to 71 million by 2035. In addition, there is a potential for growing consumer demand for fish and shellfish following the Food Standards Agency recommendations that individuals eat two portions of fish per week. If this recommendation was followed, it would require an additional 20 million portions of fish or shellfish per week.

English aquaculture can play a role in addressing these needs. Finfish production is the most efficient animal production (by quantity of feed to produced food). In addition, due to its geography England can provide onshore, offshore and inshore opportunities for aquaculture.

The workshop participants considered that a long-term enabling strategy for aquaculture plus access to better financial instruments were essential to ensure that English aquaculture would have the desired impact. Such a strategy for England should build on previous Scottish and Welsh experiences whilst recognising the differences between these countries.

Government policy-makers and scientists, plus representatives of the aquaculture industry, regulators, retailers, non-governmental organisations and pressure groups attended the workshop. Industry representatives were intent on establishing an English Producers’ “link” organisation to act as a focus for English aquaculture, potentially covering the production of trout, carp, tilapia, shellfish, new species and novel applications.

the Fish Site Editor