Lovisa Selander, Head of Water and Environmental Affairs, was the moderator of the joint final conference of the projects AQUAFIMA and Aquabest, held in Mariehamn, Åland Islands on the 5 and 6 February 2014.
Under the heading “Sustainable aquaculture in the Baltic Sea Region – boosting regional development while limiting environmental effects”, the 120 participants from research institutions, policy making, the environmental sector and companies engaged in discussions on how to develop the aquaculture potential whilst keeping within the ecosystem boundaries of the region.
The welcoming speech was given by Carina Aaltonen, Minister for Environment at the Government of Åland, followed by a plenary session on the present state and future role of aquaculture in the Baltic Sea Region. Speakers included Ole Torrissen (ICES/IMR), Mikhail Durkin (HELCOM) and Raimonds Vesers (European Commission – DG MARE). Matti Skor and Jouni Vielma, Lead Partners of the AQUAFIMA and Aquabest projects introduced to important project results.
In the afternoon the plenary speakers were joined by Ellen Bruno (Swedish Society for Nature Conservation) and Karl Iver Dahl-Madsen (Danish Aquaculture Organisation) for a panel discussion, led by Lovisa Selander, on “Sustainable development of aquaculture in the light of a healthy Baltic Sea”. The panellists agreed that the sustainability of aquaculture needs to be assessed in relation to its alternatives; imported fish, wild caught fish or a shift in diet to more meat based protein. We should also look at how aquaculture fits into the larger landscape of agriculture and food production. It was acknowledged that it is not always straightforward to identify the regional system boundaries in order to establish the eutrophication potential of aquaculture. There is indication that the goal of “closing the loop” with regards to nutrient flows is within reach and that there are promising technologies and fish feed options, but we should look closer into how to develop incentives and regulatory frameworks to support an adoption, and also consider what aquaculture options are feasible to implement in this particular region.
Photo above: Mikhail Durkin (HELCOM), Raimonds Vesers (European Commission – DG MARE), Ole Torrissen (ICES /IMR), Karl Iver Dahl-Madsen (Danish Aquaculture Organisation), Ellen Bruno (Swedish Society for Nature Conservation), Lovisa Selander (BDF, moderator).