Land-based Aquaculture: Meeting the Challenge of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
In 2015, all United Nations Member States agreed to 17 Global Goals, officially known as the Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs. These goals serve as a call to action aimed at ending poverty, fighting inequality and addressing the urgency of climate change, by 2030. They are part of a broader global movement encouraging all industries — including aquaculture — to adopt more sustainable practices.
Recirculating Aquaculture Systems: A Model of Sustainability
Within the aquaculture industry, Recirculating Aquaculture Systems (RAS) technology enables the most sustainable, safe, controlled and traceable environment for the production of fish and seafood. It creates an environmentally-conscience platform that propels the entire seafood industry toward achieving the vital goals set by the U.N.
How do RAS Systems Work?
The U.N. acknowledges the basic fact that clean, accessible water is an essential resource; without it, nothing can exist on earth. Goal 6 of the SDGs, for instance, promotes the importance of clean water and sanitation and calls on everyone to avoid wasting water. It points to the importance of carefully managing our water resources as a key feature of a sustainable future for the planet.
AquaMaof’s Minimal Liquid Discharge (MLD) technology, at the core of its sustainable aquaculture system, utilizes several water treatment patents and filtering techniques to significantly cut water consumption, constantly purifying and recycling the water so that 100 percent of it can be reused. Strict biosecurity protocols are implemented, minimizing the need for antibiotics and vaccinations.
RAS: Promoting Health and Well-Being
Producing fresh and natural fish with no added antibiotics or chemicals also addresses Goal 3, promoting health and well-being. This goal stresses the importance of ensuring healthy lives and well-being for all, which is essential to sustainable development, in which sustainable aquaculture plays a key role. Fish and shellfish produced using RAS sustainable aquaculture technology provide many health benefits, including omega-3 fatty acids – which is considered essential for human health – without the presence of microplastics. In addition, streamlined production ensures complete traceability of every fish produced.
Conserving Undersea Life and Ecosystems
Goal 14, related to life below water, highlights the importance of conservation and sustainable use of oceans, seas and marine resources. A 2018 report by the U.N. found that global fish stocks were exploited or depleted, with a third of the world’s oceans overfished and fish consumption soon becoming unsustainable. Overfishing is already affecting developing regions, where people are struggling to find sources of nutritious food. RAS sustainable aquaculture technology enables land-based production of fish and seafood, easing the burden on oceans as the world’s primary resource for seafood. Increased on-land production of the fish being consumed will enable the replenishment of currently depleting fish populations, as well as their ecosystems.
Sustainable Energy, Clean Energy
Addressing the importance of the efficient management of energy, Goal 7 promotes sustainable and clean energy consumption practices. AquaMaof’s RAS sustainable aquaculture technology harnesses physical elements in order to reduce the need for mechanical parts, resulting in significantly reduced power consumption and power-related costs. Furthermore, AquaMaof’s advanced monitoring and control system enables the smart management of power, promoting even more efficient power consumption at the facility.
Goal 13 addresses climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions. Climate change is now affecting every country on every continent. Weather patterns are changing, sea levels are rising, weather events are becoming more extreme, and greenhouse gas emissions are now at their highest levels in history. It is projected that by 2050, 68 percent of the world’s population will live in urban areas – an increase from 54 percent in 2016. With RAS sustainable aquaculture technology, fish and shellfish can be produced close to large marketplaces and urban areas. This dramatically shortens the airmiles involved in transporting the product to market, reduce CO2 emissions, and greatly increases its shelf life to create less waste.
RAS: Innovative Technology, Sustainable Technology
Goal 9 addresses industry, innovation and infrastructure. It calls upon the international community to build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization, and foster innovation. RAS sustainable aquaculture technology is an innovative technology offering solid infrastructure that enables the local commercial production of seafood, with complete control and traceability, while promoting the increasingly important value of aquatic food safety and security.
AquaMaof’s RAS sustainable aquaculture technology allows for scalable, flexible design, adaptation to different requirements, and integration of new technologies as they become available. RAS facilities require minimal maintenance while optimized feeding modes, and advanced feeding management systems enable a reduction of the Feed Conversion Ratio (FCR) and operational costs. In doing so, RAS facilities also meet Goal 12 – responsible, sustainable production and consumption.
Sustainable Local Food Production
Lastly, Goal 2 related to zero hunger, calls upon the international community to “rethink how we grow, share and consume our food”. RAS facilities, strategically located next to big cities, provide an ideal solution for the sustainable local production of fish and seafood. Today, the global supply of fish and seafood does not meet demand, resulting in higher prices. With RAS facilities, supply could be met more easily and cost effectively, resulting in greater price stability, making fresh, nutritional, and healthy fish and seafood sustainable, accessible and affordable for all.
RAS: Part of a Global Sustainability Movement
The SDGs are a part of a massive global movement toward a more sustainable world, touching all aspects of our lives. Industries across the board are adopting sustainable practices, and aquaculture is no exception. With dozens of RAS sustainable aquaculture facilities underway worldwide, the seafood industry, along with the financial community, are recognizing the many environmental and social benefits of this technology.
It’s time that more governments, private funds, and banks get involved in these projects, and actively support the important role RAS has to play as a sustainable aquaculture discipline.