Conservation and aquaculture have, in the past, been seen as in conflict with each other. The last two decades have seen many changes in the two seemingly disparate practices, motivating an updated evaluation of the scientific evidence for how aquaculture currently interacts with conservation, as well as prospects for further alignment and research. We redefine Conservation Aquaculture as “the use of human cultivation of an aquatic organism for the planned management and protection of a natural resource."
Biodiversity We are interested in expanding knowledge around all facets of aquaculture, including the potential conservation benefits that could provide wild harvest alleviation through replacement or supplement – particularly for over-exploited species – and/or ecosystem services, such as improved water quality and reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. We highlight ways aquaculture has historically, and is currently being integrated into conservation (e.g., habitat restoration of oyster beds) and areas that could be improved for the protection of critical species and habitats (e.g., aquarium trade of coral reef species). The sheer potential of conservation aquaculture suggests a tale of redemption for aquaculture and opportunity for conservationists to bring in a new age of collaborative practices to address global issues.
Aquaculture Feed With the global supply of forage fish at a plateau, fed aquaculture must continue to reduce dependence on fishmeal and oil in feeds to ensure sustainable sector growth. Our research takes a deeper dive into fed aquaculture alternatives ranging from novel feeds to land-based crops, uncovering the potential conservation benefits for forage fish and understanding the land use implications. We also consider the future potential and uncertainties of including aquaculture products as a key food source for the future.
For a comprehensive list of our research in this area check out our publications page.
Links of aquaculture to conservation in California, a case-study (Sea Grant funded -- Lead Mae Rennick, Froehlich Lab)
Biodiversity trade-offs of aquaculture replacing fisheries (Lead Dr. Rich Cottrell, NCEAS)
Synthesis of conservation-based interventions of relocation and population supplements on land and sea (New TNC project, Froehlich Lab, start 2021)
Mapping wastewater pollution into global coastal waters (Lead Dr. Ben Halpern)