Focus on Sustainable Large-Scale Aquaculture

RESEARCH: in April this year Fiskaaling attended a large workshop in Vancouver, Canada, which focused on how large-scale aquaculture most sensibly ought to be organised in small communities. Especially in Norway and in Canada the relationship between the aquaculture industry and the indigenous people can become strained, but also on the Faroe Islands there are challenges in organising the aqua culture industry as sensibly as possible.

A recurring topic of debate in many countries is how aquaculture on a large scale can be sensibly organised in small communities. In Norway and Canada, for instance, there are big challenges in making the affairs of the aquaculture industry and the affairs of the indigenous people work together in harmony or as well as possible. This was a principal reason for arranging a large workshop to take place in Canada, where indigenous people to a large extent view aquaculture as a hindrance to their livelihood.

The salmon farming in Canada has today reached about 122,000 tonnes, and more than half – about 60 percent – takes place in British Columbia on the western coast. This corresponds approximately to the Faroese output, although the area is significantly larger than ours.

The workshop under the title of ‘Intensive aquaculture and sustainable regional development in the Arctic region – From controversy to dialogue (AquaLog)’ opened with a tour of sea farms belonging to First Nation administrations, which are local governing bodies of indigenous groups, and of consultants working in the aquaculture industry at Vancouver Islands. The First Nation administrations have been recognised by the Canadian government since 1984.

Strengthening Networks and International Research Collaboration
The attendees of the workshop in Canada were from the University of Tromsø and from the research institution Nofima in Norway, the consultant society Torsta AB in Sweden, the University of Ottawa, and the research institution Tamarack Research in Montreal, Canada. From the Faroe Islands, Knud Simonsen, research leader at Fiskaaling, attended.

The workshop concluded with a two-day seminar at the University of British Columbia attended by representatives for universities and research institutions, the official Canadian aquaculture administration, the joint fishing and aquaculture administration of the indigenous people, as well as representatives for inter-institutional research campaigns in North America.

The workshop in Canada was a continuation of a workshop held in Tromsø in April 2015, then also attended by Icelandic representatives.
The workshop was funded by the Nordregio system under the Nordic Council of Ministers and by the Fram Centre in Tromsø as part of a larger project and is organised into multiple parts. The aim is to strengthen international research collaboration and networks.

Next Time on the Faroe Islands
Although there is a big difference between the participating countries when it comes to geographical size, population, production, output, and procedures in general, one of the conclusions reached at the workshop was that the disagreements found in the various countries were often on the same matters. The countries can therefore benefit from hearing about one another’s experiences, and about how the disagreements in the various communities are solved or could possibly be solved.

Work is now being carried out to summarise the materials and viewpoints gathered at the workshop, and the plan is to describe these in a scientific paper, which is to be written and published come spring.

The plan is to organise a third workshop in this series, which is planned to be held on the Faroe Islands in 2019. For the time being the working title of this workshop is ‘Best Practice Management.’

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If anyone wishes to learn more about this subject they are welcome to contact Knud Simonsen, research leader at Fiskaaling, tel. no. +298 774758.