A shrimp farming project is currently underway in Riga, Latvia, producing high quality organic shrimp in a Recirculating Aquaculture System (RAS). The project was launched in May 2014 and uses an intensive biofloc RAS. This system recirculates 100% of the water and has zero discharge, causing no negative effect on the external environment and ensuring the quality of organic shrimp production.
Although the price of fishmeal tended to fall during the course of 2014, and further progress was made with regard to reducing the share of fishmeal in aquafeed, the situation on the fishmeal market is still tense. Supply remains scarce and prices are still high. In spite of this, most feed producers are optimistic that supplies to aquaculture will be secure in future, too.
The rising concern about the environment is encouraging fish farmers to look for sustainable ways of producing fish. Geothermal water is one of them. The use of hot water stored underground enables the farming of fish in colder climates all year round compared to conventional fish farming. Heat from the earth’s interior is a limitless resource that can be utilised to farm fish. Many regions are already employing geothermal energy as an affordable, easily available and sustainable alternative to fossil fuels. Geothermal activity is concentrated around the Pacific Ocean and the Pacific Plate, from Indonesia, the Philippines and Japan, to Alaska, Central America, Mexico, the Andes and on to New Zealand. Europe also has access to geothermal water, from hot water geysers or in the depths of under the earth’s surface. Hence, the use of geothermal water in aquaculture depends on the geographical location of the country.
When asked what organic aquaculture is, consumers usually understand the farming of aquatic organisms without the use of antibiotics or chemicals, whereby attention is also paid to the preservation of biodiversity, and to protection of the ecosystems and human life. Organic certifiers and other professionals in this area set the bar much higher, however. They often only recognize what they themselves have rubber-stamped because it is only with their own “organic labels” that business is worthwhile.
Next to feed, oxygen is the most important factor for determining the success of an aquaculture enterprise. Sufficient quantities of oxygen in the water ensure that the fishes grow well and stay healthy. Oxygen encourages their appetites and general well-being. It can even lessen the impact of temperature induced stress. That is why all fish farmers take particular care that their fishes grow under optimal O2 conditions.
Poland has many advantages in both extensive and intensive aquaculture. The country has the largest area of carp ponds and the greatest carp production potential in Europe; its fish-processing industry is one of the most developed and it has a well-developed education system for aquaculture and fisheries.
Lithuania’s fishery and aquaculture sector makes up less than 0.5% of its GDP, but the sector will see steady growth in coming years. Pond fish farming is the predominant form of aquaculture, but the increasing implementation of closed aquaculture systems (CAS), as well growing numbers of small and medium enterprises, will help create jobs, especially in the rural areas.
In Romania fish farming is exclusively freshwater and can be divided into the intensive farming of salmonids, and the semi-intensive or extensive farming of cyprinids. As in Croatia the production of cyprinids is in earthen ponds which are well integrated into the natural landscape and play an important role in maintaining wetlands, regulating water overflows from river systems, and providing a habitat for numerous species of wild birds, animals, and plants.
Among the objectives of the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund are support for the development of sustainable aquaculture. Each EU member draws up a strategic plan for aquaculture for the period 2014 to 2020, which documents its vision and priorities for the sector. Implementation of the policies that lead to the achievement of this vision is supported by the EMFF. Several of the Eurofish member countries that are also members of the EU have drawn up these strategic plans for the aquaculture sector. These plans reflect the very different aquaculture industries and priorities in the countries.
Criticism of farmed salmon and other aquaculture products is not new. Sometimes the allegations are about antibiotics, then it can be dioxins or supposed environmental damage. At the moment it is ethoxyquin that is under discussion. Ethoxyquin is added to fish feed as an antioxidant. Its use is legal and there are no limits for ethoxyquin in fish. But recent findings from research suggest that the substance is not entirely without risks.