Move offshore now or miss your chance, top UK conference audience is told –

Move offshore now or miss your chance, top UK conference audience is told Published:  13 April, 2005

MOVING fish farming activity offshore cannot be avoided and work on this development has to start now, a fish farming expert told an Edinburgh conference today.

Donal Maguire, of the Irish fisheries board BIM, told the Aquaculture Today 2005 conference that the growth in the world’s population and anticipated resulting increase in fish consumption meant that there was a compelling case to make progress quickly on offshore fish farm development.

Mr Maguire told the conference in Edinburgh, organised by Fish Farmer magazine: “We need to start the development of this right now.”

He said FAO statistics were showing an enormous gap between what was being produced now and what was going to be needed because of the growth in the world’s population.

“There is an enormous growth in the need for seafood.

“We know the world’s population stands at around 7.2 billion people. Out to 2030, it will get to nearly 9.5 billion and there are going to be an awful lot more mouths to feed and they are going to have to eat a lot more fish.

“At the moment aquaculture is producing about 40million tonnes and the capture fishery around 100million tonnes. We need 180million tonnes so there is a 40million tonne gap and that gap will not come from the capture fishery whch at its best is at its limit and will not increase. So it will have to come from aquaculture”.

And he predicted that something like 3.8million tonnes would have to be farmed offshore.

“We are not saying offshore aquaculture will replace existing inshore sites. It will be a complement and will be an additionality. But there will not be space to farm the required tonnage inshore.

“The only option really is to move out.”

Developments offshore would be led by high value finfish species, he predicted.

Fish Farmer magazine is the organiser of Aquaculture Today 2005.