Aquaculture Science Hub

Global Principles for Restorative Aquaculture to Foster Aquaculture Practices that Benefit the Environment

An aerial view of clam farms in the water.
Clam Aquaculture Aerial photograph showing clam aquaculture in the area of Virginia's Eastern shore, Mattawoman and Barlow Creek area, Chesapeake Bay estuary. © Alan W. Eckert

Alleway, H.K., Waters, T.J., Brummett, R., Cai, J., Cao, L., Cayten, M.R., Costa-Pierce, B.A., Dong, Y.-W., Brandstrup Hansen, S.C., Liu, S., Liu, Q., Shelley, C., Theuerkauf, S.J., Tucker, L., Wang, Y., Jones, R.C., 2023. Global principles for restorative aquaculture to foster aquaculture practices that benefit the environment. Conservation Science and Practice 5, e12982. 

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Abstract: The magnitude of negative environmental impacts generated by food production means it is now imperative we develop food systems in a way that can actively support the recovery of degraded ecosystems, while also meeting increasing demands for food and livelihoods. Aquaculture, when it utilizes the right practices and species and occurs in the right places, can strike this balance, enabling food production that supports the health of aquatic ecosystems. To ensure the efficacy of this approach, however, a clear, common understanding of the ways in which this industry can achieve this outcome is needed.

This paper highlights a definition of “restorative aquaculture”, identifies global principles for the use and development of restorative practices, and identifies needs for information, data, and tools that, if addressed, would greatly expand our understanding of the ways in which aquaculture and restorative activities can have positive environmental outcomes. This guidance was developed by a working group of representatives from global aquaculture, environment, economic and academic organizations. It can assist industry and government in making decisions about sustainability as well as restoration and rehabilitation strategies that intersect with aquaculture.