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Successful Workshop on Sustainable Aquaculture

UK - The future sustainability of English aquaculture was discussed at Cefas last week.

A range of stakeholders from the finfish farming and shellfish industries, fish feed suppliers, universities, regulators and non-governmental organisations met for a high-level workshop, co-sponsored by Cefas and Defra.

The workshop, Towards a Sustainable Finfish Aquaculture Industry for England, included a wide-ranging series of presentations and opportunities for in-depth discussion.

One of the objectives of the workshop was to look at ways that government might support the aquaculture industry. Defra's Lee McDonough posed a series of key questions to prompt discussion, such as:

  • Can English aquaculture meet our food security needs?
  • Should it?
  • What should industry’s role be?
  • What should government’s role be?
  • What are the opportunities (eg, the moves towards renewable energy)?
  • What are the challenges?

Cefas' Keith Jeffery said: "The workshop was an incredible success, bringing together people from different backgrounds. The presentations prompted valuable discussions, and the workshop provided much food for thought. It will help us to develop a meaningful framework in future."

Aquaculture strategies adopted by other UK countries, for example Scotland and Wales, were discussed and the workshop participants agreed that much could be learned from those.

One participant said it was "good to see a little more into the role of Cefas and how it all works – most beneficial. ...We enjoyed the event immensely and found it very useful for our Tilapia cause ... [we] are keen to advance matters further as regards working closely with [Cefas] and Defra".

Another participant said: "I have been to a great many conferences and workshops, but the Weymouth one was really excellent. It was very well run, a great venue, superb hospitality and a warm welcome… Congratulations to you and your Cefas team for a very well run meeting."

Achieving sustainable food security from marine fish and shellfish stocks is not always easy or straightforward. This has led policy-makers, scientists and others to re-evaluate the potential of aquaculture to provide sustainable fish and shellfish for the English public's table.

The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization and other international bodies have repeatedly pointed to the importance of sustainably farmed fish and shellfish in delivering food security. In addition, the health benefits of eating oily fish have been highlighted by the UK's Food Standards Agency.

Further Reading

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the Fish Site Editor

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