Deliverable 3.5

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Report on population assessment and valuation of non-market effects of aquaculutre and capture fisheries activities

Executive summary

There is no doubt that the European production of fish generates huge economic values and provide important proteins to the world population. Still, it is not unreasonable to ask whether this industry, or the various industries involved in production of fish, also have environmental footprints, which are not accounted for? 

In this task we use two fish production activities to demonstrate typical effects on the physical environment caused by fish production. The two case studies are farmed Atlantic salmon and harvest of wild cod, and we used Scottish and Norwegian fish farmers and Icelandic and Canadian cod harvesters as empirical cases. Unfortunately, we were not able to get any responses from stakeholders within the Icelandic and Canadian cod fishing industry within due time. Hence, in this report, only results for fish farming is presented. We continue to work to get data from cod harvesters.

There is large agreement across farmers and other stakeholders within salmon farming in both countries that the present regulations fish farmers face when it comes to effects on the physical environment are good, and that they are sufficient to secure a sustainable industry. The only disagreement on this issue is about how accessible the regulations are. While the Scottish respondents and other stakeholders from Norway agree that these regulations are easily accessible, Norwegian fish farmers are less in concert on the topic. 

While sea-bed and MTB (maximum total biomass) are the most important issues to secure sustainable activity, green licenses and escapees are issues assessed as the least important. Certification is assessed as slightly more important than sea-lice and the FIFO rate. Producers, producers’ organization (PO) and the Government are the agents with the largest responsibility for a sustainable industry, according to the respondents. ENGOs and consumers are regarded to have little responsibility for the industry’s sustainability, while certifiers are given more responsibility than ENGOs and consumers.

Stakeholders within salmon farming are willing to increase production costs by 0.335 NOK per kg (0.04 EUR) to reduce the risk for sea-lice infestation of wild salmon (and cause wild salmon smolt mortality), and 0.21 NOK (0.02 EUR) per kg to reduce the probability for accidents that cause escapees. In addition, they are willing to increase production costs with 7.09 NOK (0.7 EUR) to reduce the FIFO-rate by 45%. This may seem as a very high amount. On the other hand, reducing the FIFO rate with 45% will imply considerably lower production costs. Certification is a similar attribute, for which stakeholders are willing to increase production costs by 5.09 NOK (0.5 EUR). However, certification may lead to higher prices in the market, and if the price premium is higher than the increase in production costs, the producers are better off with certification.

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