Norway: Scientists from Nofima and SINTEF are currently gathering
available data on the aquaculture industry relating to environmental,
economic and social repercussions to create a sustainability index
intended to be used by anyone interested.
“We want to collaborate with a broad range of stakeholders: decision makers, environmental organisations, aquaculture companies, and not least all the relevant academic communities, data owners and users of the index. With time, we hope to involve more partners in the project and establish a quality assurance group where experts from different academic communities within sustainability research will be invited to participate,” stressed Kine Mari Karlsen, a senior scientist at Nofima.
The initiative is funded by the Fishery and Aquaculture Industry Research Fund (FHF) because sustainability is a key parameter in assessing the further growth in Norway and development of the Norwegian aquaculture industry.
Sustainability of the aquaculture industry is often associated with environmental sustainability, economic and social considerations are seldom included when discussing sustainability.
The sustainability index that is currently under development aims to provide a more balanced knowledge base.
Researchers explained that the index will provide an overview of the state of the aquaculture industry on the basis of three criteria: environmental impact, economics and social ripple effects.
“There is already plenty of information available, which we now want to collate and compile with a view to facilitating identification of trends and developments, i.e. showing the direction the industry is heading in various fields,” pointed out Karlsen.
The scientist also stressed their intention to show developments in relation to a number of parameters such as sea lice prevalence, number of escapes, employment figures, production value and drug use.
The sustainability index will not weigh the various factors or assess whether the aquaculture industry is sustainable or not – the purpose of the portal is simply to provide access to all the facts about the aquaculture industry.
The first material is expected to be published in Nofima’s web portal in March 2017.