Background information for Aquaculture

Demand for fish for human consumption is rapidly growing. Analysis projects that 62% of fish for human consumption will be produced by aquaculture by 2030.

Aquaculture already accounts for more than half of the Mediterranean’s total fishery output, and the sector is projected to continue growing. With almost 80% of wild fish stocks in the region at risk of overfishing, aquaculture represents the most effective way of meeting the still-rising demand for fish and shellfish products.

The best sites for marine aquaculture tend to be in coastal and shallow areas of the Mediterranean, with good water quality – and this means that in recent years aquaculture operations have increasingly been overlapping with ecologically significant areas, including marine protected areas (MPAs) and marine Natura 2000 sites.

This has focused attention on the environmental impacts of fish and shellfish farming, and raised the question of whether and how far aquaculture should be allowed to take place in such vulnerable locations. As with all human activities, aquaculture generates environmental and social impacts: the extent to which marine aquaculture is compatible with a healthy marine environment is one of the main questions concerning its sustainability.

It’s clear that some ecologically fragile areas should be kept entirely off limits, but in others it may be possible to support a growing sustainable aquaculture sector without causing irreparable harm to vital ecosystems. 


The PHAROS4MPAs recommendations illustrate the main trends shaping the aquaculture sector, identifies its projected impacts on Mediterranean MPAs and Natura 200 sites, and proposes priority policy responses.


Main marine and brackish species cultured in Mediterranean Sea in 2016 (FAO FISHSTAT, 2018)



More info:
Final recommendations of the PHAROS4MPAs project regarding the aquaculture sector in the Mediterranean.