International Seminar on Land Based Aquaculture Systems

Last week, on 11-12th of November, in cooperation, Coalition Clean Baltic (CCB), Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC), the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management and the Swedish Board of Agriculture hosted an international seminar on Land-Based Aquaculture and best available technologies (BAT) in Stockholm. Moderators were Ellen Bruno (SSNC) and Nils Höglund (CCB).


© Brian Vinci, Freshwater Institute

About ninety participants attended the two-day event and fifteen speakers from diverse parts of the sector – industry, government, research, NGOs and retailers – gave presentations and joined panel discussions. Here below you find links to the presentations.

Exploring Land Based Aquaculture Systems

The event is a part of an ongoing engagement to highlight and define best options for sustainable growth of the aquaculture sector, linking both to current work in HELCOM on respective BAT and Best Environmental Practice (BEP) for the future fish farming in the Baltic Sea region as well as linking to the EU level.

From left: Nils Höglund, Brian Vinci, Michał Kowalski, Malin Skog, Ola Öberg and Marcin Rucinski (Polish Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries).

The aim of the seminar was to explore options for Land Based Aquaculture Systems, especially those that in different ways include a recirculation system and to highlight that such systems are not just the future solution but that they are already in full use and producing fish now. Furthermore, an important objective of this seminar was to explore the possibility to address risks to the environment and at the same time enable profitable production close to the consumer. Key questions asked were about environmental benefits, costs and technical challenges of land based systems and also the difficulties of producers to reach the market and sell their products for a good price.


Key findings of the seminar

It can be concluded that further action required are continued discussions of BAT and BEP and to set a roadmap with clear objectives and timelines for the development of Land based Aquaculture Systems. Following are some of the key findings of the seminar:

  • Land based systems, although advanced, do not have any major difficulties today and the technology is mature.
  • The costs of land based systems are dropping and are almost at par with conventional open cage systems, and if including all costs from farm to table.
  • Almost all the environmental problems linked to aquaculture are addressed in closed land based systems, e.g. alien species, spreading of pollutants/medicine/disease and nutrients losses.
  • Regardless of system used, feed based on wild fish remains a problem to be solved but there are options in new feeds and also new species.
  • Markets and price are major challenges for land based systems that can deliver fresh fish all year. Consumers must be ready to pay the price for sustainable production.
  • There is a need for simpler regulations and better coordinated monitoring by authorities.
  • There are still ethical issues to be solved in terms of fish health and welfare, a dilemma that can apply to any type of aquaculture, such as slaughter methods.
  • There is a strong need for more knowledge and research on the natural essentials of fish and how to increase fish welfare.
  • Organic labeling is not possible under current EU regulations but options are explored by

    Moderators Nils Höglund and Ellen Bruno

    independent certifiers.

  • Some retailers need, if not require, labels to clarify traceability and trust in fish products, however, more, or new, labels can also be confusing for the consumer.
  • European Commission calls for nutrient neutral systems or closed systems in the Baltic Sea region (see the draft of the Guidance document on the application of the WFD and the MSFD in relation to aquaculture).

Seminar Presentations

Malin Skog, The Swedish Board of Agriculture: EU and Swedish Aquaculture Plans and Strategies.

Frida Åberg, Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management: Prerequisites for aquaculture in Sweden

Brian Vinci, Freshwater institute West Virginia: A North American perspective on land based systems, past, present and future

Michał Kowalski, Jurassic Salmon: Land based salmon from Poland.

Ola Öberg, Svensk Fiskodling AB: Reaching success.

Ivar Warren-Hansen, Inter Aqua Advance A/S: Building it large – Land based salmon grow-out

Johan Ljungquist and Mikael Olenmark, Scandinavian Aquasystems AB and Gårdsfisk: Building it small – Integrated Agri- and Aquaculture.

Brian Vinci, Freshwater Institute West Virginia: Land vs Sea based systems cost and environmental footprint comparison.

Nils Höglund, Coalition Clean Baltic (CCB): The omnibus challenge of feed in aquaculture.

Markus Langeland, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU): Realities of the feed options.

Albin Gräns, FRESH – Fish Rearing and Stress Hazards, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU): What is animal welfare, current rules and latest research on stress prevention in aquaculture

Dario Dubolino, DG for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, European Commission: Recirculation in the EU aquaculture policy and organic rules.

Anneli Bylund and Malena Nylin, Coop Sweden: Coop Sweden strategy for a living sea.