New Paper: Thinking outside the box: embracing social complexity in aquaculture carrying capacity estimations
Ramón Filgueira of the Carrying Capacity research module, together with Lotta Clara Kluger of the University of Bremen, has co-authored a new paper titled “Thinking outside the box: embracing social complexity in aquaculture carrying capacity estimations“. Together, the authors argue for more proactive and engaged use of the carrying capacity approach to aquaculture establishment.
There full paper can be found here.
With ever-expanding marine aquaculture, calls for sustainable development become louder. The concept of aquaculture carrying capacity (CC) emerged 30 years ago to frame development, though so far, most studies have focused on the production and ecological components, leaving aside the social perspective. Often, estimations are carried out a posteriori, once aquaculture is already in place, hence ignoring relevant voices potentially opposing the onset of aquaculture implementation. We argue that CC should be multidimensional, iterative, inclusive, and just. Hence, the evaluative scope of CC needs to be broadened by moving from industry-driven, Western-based approaches towards an inclusive vision taking into consideration historical, cultural, and socio-economic concerns of all stakeholders of a given area. To this end, we suggest guidelines to frame a safe operating space for aquaculture based on a multi-criteria, multi-stakeholder approach, while embracing the social-ecological dynamics of aquaculture settings by applying an adaptive approach and acknowledging the critical role of place-based constraints. Rather than producing a box-checking exercise, CC approaches should proactively engage with aquaculture-produced outcomes at multiple scales, embracing complexity, and uncertainty. Scoping CC with the voices of all relevant societal groups, ideally before aquaculture implementation, provides the unique opportunity to jointly develop truly sustainable aquaculture.