Sunday, February 25, 2018

26/02/2018: Monaco Blue Initiative: marine protected areas can benefit from aquaculture provided

Monaco Blue Initiative is a platform for discussion on ocean management and conservation which bring together all sectors involved in the marine environment - from government policy makers, international organisations and those working in and around the oceans and includes fishing and aquaculture, science, the private sector and civil society itself

Launched in 2010 by HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, this initiative is being co-organised jointly by his Monaco Foundation and the Oceanographic Institute. Members of the MBI meet annually to discuss interactions and synergies between marine conservation and socio-economic development and its 2017 meeting took the debate further with regard to aquaculture and its future alongside Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).

The 2018 meeting which takes place in Edinburgh, Scotland from April 8-9 will follow-up the 2017 wide-ranging discussion and presentations with more focused networking involving invited representatives only. The MBI is located in Monaco but every second year is held outside the Principality. In 2016 the meeting was held in San Paulo, Brazil.

Participants of the Monaco Blue Initiative
Image credit: Monaco Blue 

Wide ranging discussions

The 2017 one-day conference was broken into five sessions with aquaculture featuring strongly in two and having a mention in others.

‘Aquaculture and Marine Protected Areas’ was a session chaired by Doris Soto a senior scientist with the Inter-Disciplinary Centre for Research on Aquaculture in Chile. This was the session that focused most closely on how the future management of aquaculture might benefit MPAs.

On her panel were four presenters: Francois Simard, the deputy director of Global Marine and Polar Programme IUCN; Thierry. Chopin the scientific director of the Canadian IMTA Network; John White the development director for the Aquaculture Stewardship Council and Kitty Brayne the programmes manager for UK Conservation ‘Blue Ventures’.

Aquaculture’s contribution

The scene was set when the group jointly recognized that aquaculture while responding to the world’s growing demand for fish at a time of depleted wild stocks, also threatens marine eco-systems when practiced irresponsibly.

MPAs are one of the most effective means of preserving ocean eco-systems, the panel believe.

It discussed ways of how aquaculture could be conducted in a ‘sustainable way’ alongside or within MPAs themselves and that in some ways could even contribute to restoring marine environments.

Ms Soto explained that pressure from aquaculture on MPAs is often unavoidable as people have no alternative livelihood to that of aquaculture. Today, aquaculture makes up half of all fish consumed worldwide, and is growing rapidly, she explained.

“The challenge is to develop aquaculture in ways that assist MPAs while providing crucial protein sources and livelihoods.”

Read the full article, HERE.

The Aquaculturists
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