Mariculture impact: groundbreaking study

Does mariculture provide a means of decreasing the impact of food and energy production?

Is mariculture the greener option? Food and energy security are recognised global challenges. And such challenges need to be addressed in a sustainable manner; considering the need to maintain and restore biodiversity and to respect environmental limits.

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

The ‘exploratory’ research wanted 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 reviewed and compared the ‘footprint’ of food and energy production from agricultural and mariculture systems. We also looked at the potential for mariculture to meet food and energy demands in 2050 and the associated risks and benefits of transferring production from land to sea.

The study was funded by WWF-UK and the Scottish Aquaculture Research Forum (SARF).