SPAIN : Aquaculture contributes to reducing poverty, facilitates access to food, fosters local and international trade, improves the use of resources and offers employment opportunities. In addition, and as indicated by the hundred experts gathered in Madrid at the International Conference on Sustainability "From the sea to the table", organized by the Norwegian Seafood Council, together with Innovation Norway and the Norwegian Embassy, fishing and aquaculture are essential for the conservation of oceans, seas and marine resources and contribute to sustainable development.
According to the predictions of the United Nations, in 2050 the world population will have exceeded 10 billion people, a fact that will cause a 70 per cent increase in food production and will require the implementation of more efficient and sustainable practices to supply global demand.
"Accepting the challenge of social, nutritional and environmental sustainability requires taking into account aquaculture as a driving force for economic development and participating in an activity that grows steadily every year," says Bjorn-Erik Stabell, director of Seafood Council of Norway in Spain.
Nowadays, the world fishing production exceeds 180 tonnes per year and aquaculture concentrates almost 50 per cent of the world fish products, which has favoured the growth of the supply of fish for human consumption and plays a fundamental role in the fight against famine.
Aquaculture is a highly specialized activity that allows countries that strategically bet on it, such as Norway, to achieve real progress. The majority of the main aquaculture producing countries worldwide registered a GDP growth rate of close to 5 per cent, since the ten main aquaculture producing countries in the world concentrate more than 90 per cent of the total amount produced, up to 95.6 million tonnes. In fact, experts estimate that the commitment to an economy based on maritime and oceanic resources can result in an economic income of close to USD 3 trillion in 2030.
The European Union is the first and most relevant world market for seafood, with an annual consumption of 12.2 million tonnes. In this context and according to Javier Ojeda, manager of the Business Association of Marine Product Producers of Spain (APROMAR), "Spain is the country of the European Union with the largest aquaculture harvest, with nearly 300,000 tonnes, followed by the United Kingdom and France. Mussels, sea bass, sea bream and rainbow trout are the main species produced by aquaculture in Spain".
FAO forecasts indicate that the main increase in fish production will originate in aquaculture, reaching 109 million tonnes in 2030, with an average annual growth rate of 4 per cent up to that date. In the same way, it is expected that the percentage of species grown in fisheries production, 47 per cent today, will surpass that of wild species for the first time in 2020 and increase to 54 per cent in 2030.
Norwegian R&D for aquaculture
The R&D effort of the aquaculture sector focuses on optimizing its efficiency and productivity, maintaining the good health of the animals raised, the optimization of feed and raw materials, improvements in farm management.
The use of new technology, such as advanced robotics, the use of the "Internet of Things" (IOT), the interconnection of sensors and automatic identification systems, make fishing not only safer, more accurate and more predictable, but also more sustainable and use resources in a more efficient way.
In the international seminar "From the sea to the plate", projects such as "Ocean Farm" were presented, a pioneering initiative of the company Nordlaks for the implementation of salmon aquaculture in the high seas, which can revolutionize aquaculture as we know it. The ship "Ocean Farm", which hopes to be a reality in 2020 in Norway, is a marine farm with the capacity to process 10,000 tonnes of Norwegian salmon (more than two million fish) that are free from chemical substances and respectful of the environment.
Nordlaks was founded in 1989, and is today a fully integrated company producing, processing and selling high quality Atlantic salmon and Rainbow trout world-wide
For its part, and continuing with the sustainability of Norwegian salmon aquaculture, Leroy Seafood Group has been producing salmon that is rich in healthy fatty acids for three years thanks to the use of microalgae with a high content of omega 3-DHA in its feed specifically created with this purpose, and in this way reduce the dependence on marine ingredients.
Likewise, and in order to ensure not only the quality of the species caught, but also to guarantee the sustainability of the ecosystem, precision scanners are being developed to analyze.