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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A global analysis of historical and projected mariculture production trends, 1950-2030 Campbell, Brooke Maureen McClelland


Aquaculture is one of the fastest growing global food animal production industries and, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), accounts for over 40 % of global seafood consumption. This proportion is anticipated to grow in the coming decades as global capture fisheries continue to stagnate and global demand for seafood continues to rise. As the significance of aquaculture grows, the marine and brackish (‘mariculture’) subsector is of particular interest for analysis because of its growing influence on the development of global aquaculture and its known negative impacts on marine biodiversity and coastal health. Based on known global data limitations and past experience with fisheries and aquaculture statistics reported to the FAO, there is reason to independently verify the FAO’s current global database of mariculture production statistics. Moreover, its low spatial and taxonomic resolution can create uncertainties in analysis, management, and planning. We therefore re-estimated and GIS-mapped historical mariculture production from 1950 to 2004 at a higher spatial and taxonomic resolution. Despite this new compilation, some uncertainty remains in the accuracy of reported mariculture production statistics at the country level, particularly in China. As such, mariculture statistics should still be used with caution. Through analysis of mean trophic levels, this new global database confirms that we are globally ‘farming up the foodweb’. This new database was combined with the scenarios framework of the United Nations Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-4) to reduce the uncertainty inherent in planning for, and anticipating the effects of, mariculture production’s global development trajectory by 2030. Based on the GEO-4 framework and a method using segmented linear regressions, we developed four plausible narrative storylines and model-based simulations of future mariculture, emphasizing the benefits and tradeoffs along different pathway of future development. One important result is that taking immediate action towards increasing ecological responsibility in mariculture production and development does not appear to preclude meeting currently projected food fish demand in 2030.

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