Denmark to halt development of sea fish farming sector

The Danish Government has announced that it is to put a halt to the development of fish farming at sea in a bid to protect the environment. The move will see an end to the development of any new sea fish farms in the country as well as a curb in growth for existing farms.

Danish Environment Minister Lea Wermelin made the announcement on Monday saying, ‘Denmark has reached the limit of how many fish can be farmed at sea without risking the environment…… We must be a green pioneer, when it comes to fish farming, and therefore we must focus on sustainable development of the aquaculture sector.’

Levels of pollution associated with aquaculture have been the cause of significant criticism in the past. The resulting concentration of waste from the sector and its impact on the marine environment has been widely questioned.

Concerns also exist about the combination of uneaten food pellets and waste which can pollute the water, smothering animals and plants on the seafloor.

Other issues relating to aquaculture include the spread of diseases and parasites from farmed fish to wild fish.

‘I am concerned about the state of our aquatic environment, and I do not think that we will have more or larger aquaculture in Denmark at this time,’ Minister Wermelin said.

Cultivation of fish in the sea uses nets or long-line arrays that are moored to the sea floor. The Danish production of marine fish is primarily rainbow trout.

Denmark is the eighth largest producer of sea farmed fish in the EU with around 19 sea fish farms in existence. The main aquaculture-producing countries amongst the EU member states, in terms of volume, are Spain, the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Greece.

Aquaculture, both sea and fresh water, is a significant activity in many European countries, producing around 1.3 million tonnes and more than €4 billion in value. In the total world aquaculture production, EU aquaculture occupies a share of 1.23 % in terms of volume and 2.82 % in terms of value.

Mediterranean mussels make up around one fourth of the total volume farmed in the EU, while Atlantic salmon and rainbow trout together represent more than a third of the total value.

According to the Allied Market Research Aquaculture Global Opportunity Analysis and Industry Forecast, 2014-2022, the aquaculture market was valued at $169 billion in 2015 and is forecast to reach $242 billion by 2022.

(Image of Minister for Environment Lea Wermelin via en.mfvm.dk)

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