Aquaculture effects on environmental and public welfare - The case of Mediterranean mariculture

TitleAquaculture effects on environmental and public welfare - The case of Mediterranean mariculture
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsGrigorakis, K, Rigos G
JournalChemosphere
Volume85
Issue6
Pages899 - 919
KeywordsAquaculture, Chemicals, Environment, mediterranean, Organochlorines, Wastes
Abstract

Aquatic farming has been considered, during the last decades, as the fastest growing food production industry powered by governmental and technological impulsion. Compensation for fisheries decline, creation of new jobs and source of financial windfall are the most important benefits. However, similar to most of the human food-production activities, aquaculture raised several issues related to the environmental welfare and consumer safety. An effort to record the aquaculture-environment and -human safety interactions with regard to the Mediterranean mariculture, is attempted herein. We focused on this geographical area due to its individualities in both the hydrological and physicochemical characteristics and the forms of aquaculture activities. The cage farming of euryhaline marine fish species and more recently of bluefin tuna and mollusk farming are the dominating aquaculture activities. The impacts of these activities to the environment, through wastes offloads, introduction of alien species, genetic interactions, disease transfer, release of chemicals, use of wild recourses, alterations of coastal habitats and disturbance of wildlife, are analytically considered. Also the consumer safety issues related to the farming are assessed, including generation of antibiotic-resistant microorganisms, contaminants transferred to humans though food chain and other hazards from consumption of aquacultured items. Within these, the major literature findings are critically examined and suggestions for scientific areas that need further development are made. The major tasks for future aquaculture development in this region are: (i) to ensure sustainability and (ii) to balance the risks to public or environmental health with the substantial economical benefits. In regard with monitoring, tools must be created or adapted to predict the environmental costs and estimate consumer impact. At a canonistic and legal basis, the establishment of appropriate legal guidelines and common policies from all countries involved should be mandatory. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

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