Acuicultura sostenible

Sustainable aquaculture: the Region of Valencia as an epicentre

Among the challenges facing the scientific community in the 21st century, food security stands out as a crucial issue, closely linked to environmental sustainability and conservation, as well as economic and social progress. In this complex scenario, sustainable aquaculture is not only a viable solution, but also an emerging imperative to meet the food challenges of the future.

In this context, during the 46th annual meeting of the FAO General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM), several agreements were reached and key measures adopted to promote the sustainable development of aquaculture, such as the decarbonisation of production processes, the reduction of single-use plastics and the farming of species resistant to climate change.

The Community of Valencia is committed to these challenges, both in the productive and scientific sectors. For this reason, the GVA-ThinkInAzul project, which brings together the region’s most advanced research institutions, sets out clear lines of work to achieve sustainable, precision aquaculture by improving nutrition, reproduction, health and animal welfare, while reducing the impact on the marine environment (more info).

Diversification: the key to sustainable aquaculture adapted to climate change.

We could focus on a list of aquaculture facilities, production figures or scientific innovations, but we are highlighting how this region has made fish farming more than just a blue economy activity, committed to sustainability and promoting a healthy food future. The numbers are important, even impressive, but it is the story behind each tonne of fish that highlights the passion of those who have made the Community the epicentre of aquaculture innovation.

The success of Valencian aquaculture lies in its ability to embrace diversity. Each species farmed, from sea bream and sea bass to corvina and milt, has its own role to play in the present and future of this region. Who would have thought that corvina, a culinary jewel in Central America, would find its main home in Valencian waters, where 2,600 tonnes will be produced in 2022?

The intelligent diversification of species is a strategy that not only responds to changing market tastes, but also serves as a lifeline in the face of environmental uncertainties. Amberjack, for example, one of the new species to which Community aquaculture is committed, not only provides us with a delicate and mild flavour, but also inspires us in the kitchen thanks to its versatility, and is a clear example of how Valencian aquaculture is committed to new species in the context of the blue economy.

The sustainable farming scenario is not complete without mentioning mussels and oysters. These species, which add their own notes to the aquaculture chorus, not only ensure a varied supply to the market, but also strengthen the sector’s resilience to the vagaries of demand and environmental conditions.

The innovative initiatives in aquaculture in the Comunidad Valenciana also cover other aspects related to the species themselves, positioning the Comunidad as a benchmark in the adoption of innovative technologies in this sector.

Examples include the cultivation of microalgae for fish feed, which reduces the need to rely on external feed sources such as fishmeal, which is often produced by intensive fishing; the development of underwater cages, which reduce interaction with sensitive coastal ecosystems and minimise environmental impact; the use of remote monitoring technologies such as satellites and drones, which enable fish farmers to monitor conditions efficiently and in real time, allowing them to respond quickly and effectively if necessary. And finally, cutting-edge technology to limit the use of freshwater in the production of aquaculture products. All these measures mean that aquaculture in the Community of Valencia has a very low carbon footprint compared to other agri-food activities, in line with the recommendations of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the set of global goals set by the United Nations to address social, economic and environmental challenges and achieve sustainable development by 2030.

Beyond the figures, a legacy of the blue economy

It is not just a question of production figures, but of a commitment rooted in the depths of the Mediterranean. The Valencian Community has not only overcome the challenges of traditional fishing, but has developed a model that goes beyond production and embraces sustainability as a philosophy of life.

On this journey, we discover that aquaculture is not just an answer to food challenges, but a story of success in the search for sustainable and resilient solutions. With each wave, with each farmed species, with each GVA-ThinkinAzul experiment, the Valencian Community is weaving a blue legacy that goes beyond the pages of scientific reports.

For more information on innovative research in sustainable aquaculture, read more about the work of WP6.



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