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ABPmer and the Institute of Aquaculture to research if expanding mariculture is the greener option

In light of global challenges associated with ensuring food and energy security, ABPmer has been appointed to evaluate whether mariculture expansion provides a means of decreasing the impact of terrestrial food and energy production.


The global challenges associated with ensuring food and energy security are increasingly recognised. Furthermore, these challenges need to be addressed in a sustainable manner taking account of the need to maintain and restore biodiversity and to respect environmental limits.

ABPmer, supported by the Institute of Aquaculture, at the University of Stirling, has been appointed to carry out a ground-breaking study to evaluate whether mariculture expansion provides a means of decreasing the impact of terrestrial food and energy production.

The study is being funded by WWF-UK and the Scottish Aquaculture Research Forum (SARF). The ‘exploratory’ research will seek to understand what proportion of future global food and energy needs could feasibly be met by mariculture and whether the expansion of mariculture might contribute to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions as well as reduce the environmental ‘footprint’ of such production compared to land-based agriculture and energy production.

The research team will review and compare the ‘footprint’ of food and energy production from agricultural and mariculture systems based on existing literature. Consideration will also be given to the potential for mariculture to meet food and energy demands in 2050 and the risks and benefits of transferring production from land to sea.

Caroline Roberts, Project Manager, ABPmer said:

“We and the Institute of Aquaculture are delighted to be awarded this exciting piece of work which has the potential to significantly influence global food and energy security policy. Sustainable development demands that food and energy production to support an increasing global population is achieved without putting further pressure on limited freshwater and land resources and exacerbating climate change.
“The project allows us to combine our experience in environmental, socio-economic and cumulative impact assessments with the Institute of Aquaculture’s experience of global mariculture systems and environmental sustainability. The output of this project will help guide further research into how mariculture can improve global food and energy security in a sustainable manner”.

The project is being administrated through SARF.

Image © Scottish Seafarms