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Governance Needed For Sustainable Salmon Industry

Economics +1 more

NORWAY - Salmon prices that are too high may hamper the long-run growth in the industry, warns Professor Frank Asche, a researcher and lecturer in the production and marketing of seafood at the University of Stavanger.

Professor Frank Asche

"The salmon industry faces a challenge in finding suitable locations for its farms. Under-establishment of new farms might result in an industry that is not able to meet the demand and therefore to even higher prices: While this is good for the farmers in the short term, it is also a driver for new species that might attract consumers and move them away from salmon,” Professor Asche says in his article Sustainability and Global Seafood published in February 2010 Science journal.

“In order to succeed as an aquaculture industry and continue the growth, all the drivers have to be right at the same time – technology, costs, governance and marketing. That is why salmon is the big aquaculture success in Europe, far, far beyond sea bream in second place,” the professor points out.

“The sea bream industry equals salmon both in technology and costs, but its marketing has not been at a sufficient level and product innovation is virtually non-existent – bream being solely sold as a portion fish. That is the main reason why the bream production is still small with salmon as the big brother.”

The ISA situation in Chile is another example.

“The market alone does not have the governance mechanisms to regulate general conditions applying to all companies. In this situation, actions that are rational for individual companies might add up to a breakdown such as the one we now see in Chile. Several other species have gone through similar development.”

The need for governance is a main conclusion of Asche and co-authors in the Science article.

“The lack of authorities, knowledge and traditions to regulate production is a challenge to sustainability. Governance is a prerequisite to sustainable aquaculture and a successful industry. However, when the alternative is extreme poverty, you are willing to sacrifice environmental sustainability for short term gains such as coastal mangrove forests to shrimp farming. This ought to be taken into account in the aid programmes of the industrial countries,” says Professor Asche.

Professor Asche will be speaking at the aquaculture business conference AquaVision in June.

AquaVision is a biennial international aquaculture and food business conference organised to provide a platform and network for discussion at a strategic level on current and future concerns from consumption and marketing back to farming, fish processing and feeding.

AquaVision 2010 will be arranged 7-9 June in Stavanger, Norway.

Sustainability and Global Seafood was written by Martin D. Smith, Cathy A. Roheim, Larry B. Crowder, Benjamin S. Halpern, Mary Turnipseed, James L. Anderson, Frank Asche, Luis Bourillón, Atle G. Guttormsen, Ahmed Khan, Lisa A. Liguori, Aaron McNevin, Mary I. O'Connor, Dale Squires, Peter Tyedmers, Carrie Brownstein, Kristin Carden, Dane H. Klinger, Raphael Sagarin, and Kimberly A. Selkoe.