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The Stakeholder Committee of the French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea presents its conclusions on how to meet the challenge of sustainable marine aquaculture in France

The Stakeholder Committee of the French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea presents its conclusions on how to meet the challenge of sustainable marine aquaculture in France

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Cargill Empyreal75
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Aquaculture Magazine reports: 

The members of the Stakeholder Committee of the French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea (Ifremer) met recently at its center in Brittany to deliver their conclusions on the referral ‘Research for sustainable and innovative marine aquaculture’. After 18 months of exchanges, hearings and analysis, the committee members have formulated recommendations for Ifremer and other marine aquaculture stakeholders, and the importance of producing knowledge and solutions that can be leveraged by industry players has become clear.

“It became clear that Ifremer needed to establish an aquaculture research and innovation strategy that would give its work a clear focus between the major contemporary challenges of food security and sovereignty, climate change and the erosion of biodiversity. The aim is to produce knowledge and solutions that will enable players in the aquaculture sector to anticipate and integrate the various impacts of environmental change into their activities,” said Sarah Lelong, Co-rapporteur of Ifremer’s Stakeholder Committee opinion.

Another recommendation is based on the need to work on reducing the negative impacts of aquaculture activities on the natural environment. It is therefore important to find alternatives for feeding carnivorous species in order to reduce the dependence of these industries on fishery resources, but also more broadly to limit the harmful effects of aquaculture on ecosystems (linked to water and waste treatment, organic faeces deposits, treatment chemicals or plastic pollution, etc.).

“Ifremer is already working on a number of solutions for sustainable, environmentally-friendly aquaculture, but it’s important to encourage even more work in this area. I’m thinking in particular of integrated multi-trophic aquaculture which, like permaculture, recycles the nutrients released by farmed fish through other species that can in turn be valorized,” assured Alexandre Luczkiewicz, Co-rapporteur of the opinion of Ifremer’s Stakeholder Committee.

The Stakeholder Committee of the French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea presents its conclusions on how to meet the challenge of sustainable marine aquaculture in France

The need for strong institutional support

The Stakeholder Committee maintains that the transition to sustainable aquaculture with enhanced capacities in France will not happen without strong institutional support to create the conditions in France for the development of sustainable, environmentally-friendly aquaculture sectors. This position was widely shared by the twenty or so stakeholders interviewed by the committee.

Major role in the development of the aquaculture sectors

“Against this backdrop of growing global demand for seafood products, and in light of the environmental changes impacting aquaculture production, lfremer’s skills and knowledge are increasingly in demand. To build a strategy more in tune with society’s expectations, the Institute decided to consult our committee,” said for her part Geneviève Pons, Co-Chair of the Stakeholder Committee.

“Three major questions were addressed to us and guided our collective work: what are the major concerns of stakeholders, particularly economic players? What do stakeholders see as the priorities for research and innovation to meet these challenges? What recommendations do stakeholders have for improved dialogue?”, she added.

Launch of a new referral on the deep seabed

The plenary session also provided an opportunity to launch the next referral to the Stakeholder Committee on the deep seabed. Ifremer intends to use its recommendations as a basis for the scientific issues to be addressed by the “Deep Seabed” priority research program (PEPR). The Stakeholder Committee thus drew on existing initiatives, in particular the work in progress by the joint INRAE-Cirad-Ifremer-IRD Ethics Committee and the collective scientific expertise coordinated by IRD.

Guide and support the Institute in integrating its societal dimension

The seminar was also an opportunity to launch the work of the Deep Seabed Committee and to take stock of the mid-term results of this original body, which has been working with Ifremer for the past two years to anticipate and better respond to society’s expectations of marine sciences.

Created in November 2021 in a move to open up to society, the advisory committee, reporting to Ifremer’s Board of Directors, aims to guide and support the institute in integrating the societal dimension at the heart of its research programs and in its mission to disseminate knowledge to society.

It brings together 22 players all concerned by ocean-related issues: companies, craftsmen and employees in the maritime sector, associations and NGOs, citizens and local authorities. All members were appointed intuitu personae, following a widely publicized call for applications. The committee was coordinated and run by two co-chairmen: Geneviève Pons and Sébastien Treyer.

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