Aquaculture has a fundamental role to play in ensuring Europe’s food security. Moreover, the EU’s Strategy for Blue Growth identifies aquaculture as a sector which could boost economic growth and bring social benefits through new jobs. Despite this, the social acceptance of aquaculture and the opinion of some industry stakeholders and regulators are negatively affected by reasonable concerns, about some environmental risks that could be associated with unsustainable farming practices. Examples of these are the risk of pollution with organic waste, spreading of pests and contamination with pesticides.
In this context how do people perceive integrated multi-trophic aquaculture? In this video, Marc Shorten – DOMMRS, explains the interesting results obtained by a survey conducted by IDREEM researchers on the social perception and acceptance of IMTA. When IDREEM started out most of us assumed that there were lots of objections around aquaculture generally. As scientists of course we don’t’ take it for granted, we go and study it, Marc says. At first we looked at the people directly vested in the industry, we talked to them and we found out that some of the stakeholders were against IMTA but the majority of them were not, and their positions were more against aquaculture in general rather than IMTA. Even those who were most against aquaculture agreed that IMTA could help to mitigate some of the potential problems of aquaculture, he says.
How about the general public? To understand more about this, an online survey was launched in all European countries interested by IDREEM with 2.500 people contacted. What we found is that people were far more positive than negative about aquaculture. Interestingly, those who already knew about IMTA were really enthusiastic about it, and those who didn’t know anything about it, thought it was a good idea once they were informed, that was really good news, Marc concluded.