The project has been inspired by the dynamic nature of the aquaculture industry – which has to constantly respond to factors such as the evolution of diseases and parasites, new technologies, changes in the markets and debate over who can use coastal zones. This gives rise to the need to consider changes in aquaculture management and the use of sea areas in the coastal zone.
The project has received funding of NOK 9.5 million (£870,000) from the Norwegian Seafood Research Fund (FHF) and will run until June 2020.
It involves researchers from the food research institute Nofima, the University of Stavanger, the University of Tromsø, and NTNU Social Research.
Analysis and input on future aquaculture management must be based on ideas of how the industry will look in the future. A number of factors that affect the aquaculture industry can be changed.
“There will be relatively large consensus on how we can expect things to develop for some of those factors, preferably based on ‘heavy trends’. Those factors we are unsure about and that could be very important are usually referred to as wild cards. Of course, many factors will be between these extremes,” says Nofima project manager Roy Robertsen.
There is therefore considerable uncertainty about what the future holds for the aquaculture industry. In an effort to analyse the future, despite its great complexity, certain scenarios can be broken down.
Environmental conditions, parasites and disease
Will major challenges today be resolved or exacerbated in the future, or will new and serious problems emerge?
Will we be able to farm fish more intensively or in larger facilities, can rotation speed at sea be increased, what could more land-based or offshore facilities mean, and so on?
Social legitimacy and requirements for the aquaculture industry
Will there be even stronger demand and a desire to redistribute benefits and liabilities of the aquaculture industry, or a demand for more (or less) local influence?
“We will consider different types of criteria and the use of other means the authorities might apply, including looking at how they can affect the organisation of aquaculture and the redistribution of locations. The project will assess the arguments for and against the limited period use of sea areas, where flexibility must be offset against the need for long-term framework conditions. We will utilise various relevant models for resource interest, criteria for the use of the sea areas and time limits for their use,” concludes Robertsen.