Sustainable Aquaculture Workshop - Defra address


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An introduction to food security with an overview of supply and demand for fish and the FSA views on consumption of oily and non- oily fish. Outline of the requirement to increase aquaculture production. By Lee McDonough

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Sustainable Aquaculture Workshop - Defra address

  1. 1. Food security and the challenges for aquaculture Cefas Workshop: Towards a sustainable finfish aquaculture industry for England 13th October 2009 Lee McDonough Deputy Director Marine Programme, Defra
  2. 2. Presentation outline • Overview of UK aquaculture • Policy context: food security • Policy drivers: • The decline in capture fisheries • Population growth • Consumer interest • Political interest
  3. 3. Overview of UK Aquaculture • Most aquaculture activity is related to fish and shellfish • The majority of existing food finfish aquaculture activity is located in Scotland although it is increasing in areas of Wales and England. Shellfish culture is spread more evenly throughout the UK • In 2006, the farm gate value of fish farming in England and Wales was estimated to be c£23.5 million, of which £13 million was salmonids, 0.5 million other food fish and £10 million coarse fish for re-stocking of fisheries and ornamental purposes. The value of shellfish farming was estimated to be around £20 million.
  4. 4. Policy context: Food security • The Government defines food security as: “Ensuring the availability of, and access to, affordable, safe and nutritious food sufficient for an active lifestyle, for all, at all times.” • Need to look at sustainability and security together • By any objective measure, we enjoy a high degree of food security in the UK today. As a modern trading economy, the UK enjoys a rich diversity of nutritious food from home and abroad, so we have a vested interest in the sustainability of our food wherever it comes from. • UK food security assessment (August 2009) indicated that overall the food supply was currently secure. • However, one sector identified as "very unfavourable" and showing no sign of improving is global fish stocks.
  5. 5. Policy driver: Decline in capture fisheries • FAO has classified most wild fisheries as either fully exploited or over exploited • EU27 capture fisheries have declined over recent years, with the balance of supplies coming from aquaculture production and from increased imports • According to the FAO total world fisheries United Kingdom Capture Production (FAO Fishery Statistic) production was 92 million tonnes capture fisheries, 51.7 million tonnes aquaculture • Production increases came from the aquaculture sector (now accounts for 47 percent of all fish consumed by humans as food)
  6. 6. Policy driver: Population growth • UK population is forecast to grow to almost 71 million by 2035 (England accounts for c83% of UK population) • FSA recommend two portions of fish pw. Majority of UK population does not consume enough fish (particularly oily types) • Assuming we did eat the right level, for the projected increase in population that’s an extra 20 million portions per week
  7. 7. Policy driver: Consumer interest • Aquaculture could have an increasingly important role in providing a protein source for future generations • Essential that consumers are well informed about the role aquaculture plays both in providing a continuing source of fish and shellfish and in the interaction it has with the local and wider environment • Consumers have experienced a long-term increase in the real prices of fresh and frozen fish and this trend is likely to continue. • Health benefits of fish consumption remains clear, with FSA advising to eat two portions of fish a week. Need to balance this with sustainable use of fisheries resources • Consumer interest on sustainability peaked (e.g.. feed conversion issues, highlighted in “The end of the line”)
  8. 8. Policy driver: Political interest • Fisheries 2027: “... significant amount of the fish we eat is farmed and the environmental impacts of aquaculture are acceptable.” • UK food security assessment published in August 2009 • Efra committee’s report ‘Securing food supplies up to 2050: the challenges faced by the UK’ • April 2009 the European Commission published Building a sustainable future for aquaculture. • European Fisheries Fund. €6.4 million potential funding for micro and SMEs available in England United Kingdom Aquaculture Production (FAO Fishery Statistic)
  9. 9. Conclusion • 10 minutes not enough time to do justice to the issues! • Fish and seafood is a large part of the European lifestyle. • Aquaculture has some advantages for the consumer, which include: sustainability; safety; affordability and traceability. However, there are perception/real issues to be overcome e.g. FCR, bio-security, production methods and consumer preference • Recognition that aquaculture has an important part to play in meeting the needs of UK consumers for a sustainable supply of fish and seafood.
  10. 10. Do we need a strategy? • As a starting point, we need to find answers to (at least!!) the following questions: • What contribution can English aquaculture make to our food security needs? • What should industry's role be? • How important are retailers? • What should government's role be? • What are the opportunities (e.g.. Offshore, feedstuffs, biofuels)? • What are the challenges?