What strategy are the EU and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania pursuing in the field of aquaculture?

The European Commission would like to preserve the potential for the production of food on a sustainable basis throughout the Union. Aquaculture is to contribute towards ensuring long-term food security while providing employment at the same time. By 2020, the degree of self-sufficiency with fish is set to rise from the current level of 35% to 50%. If yields from fisheries remain constant, this would require a tripling of current aquaculture production. (Courtney Hough – FEAP Liège, Fischmagazin 10/2014)

The state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania supplements the funding possibilities of the European Commission with its own financial resources. The aim of all efforts is to establish the aquaculture sector in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. For this purpose, investors are supported not only financially, but also with advice and organisational assistance. In recent years, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania has begun to develop a promising infrastructure in the field of aquaculture – with producers, processors and research institutes working successfully together. This path is to be pursued in the future as well.

The state government presented a "Strategy for the development of aquaculture in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania" in June 2016 for the next few years:

Strategy for the development of aquaculture in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania

Why aquaculture and why in Mecklenburg-Western-Pomerania?

Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania has resolved to increase the capacities of regional aquaculture for the following reasons:

  • Fish consumption has been increasing worldwide for decades. Consumption is also rising in Germany, albeit slowly compared to the global rates of increase.
  • Catches in the oceans remain constant, although they have fallen significantly for some species.
  • 88% of the 1.3 million tonnes of fish (catch weight) consumed in Germany in 2010 is imported or transported within the EU to Germany.
  • Imports through airports are becoming increasingly important for the supply of fresh fish. In 2010, 17,285 tonnes of fresh fish were flown in via German airports, while frozen fish almost exclusively arrives in Germany by sea.
  • The most important import countries for fresh fish in 2010 were Tanzania, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Iceland, followed by Kenya, Canada and Uganda.
  • Carbon dioxide emissions per kg of fish:
    • for flown-in products: 700 – 1000g CO2/1000 km
    • transported by truck: 100 – 200 g CO2/1000 km
    • transported by train: 50 g CO2/1000 km
    • transported by ship: 18 g CO2/1000 km

What requirements for development in the field of aquaculture exist in our view?

  • Determination of the feel-good factors for all kinds of fish species
  • Development of fishing and transport techniques in order to avoid stress in fish
  • Further development of sorting techniques from the brood to edible fish with the aim of stress avoidance and cost reduction
  • Determination of the best basin shapes, flow conditions and stocking densities for the well-being of the fish
  • Immune stimulants and probiotics to strengthen the immune system
  • Adaptation processes of fish from recirculation systems to increase survivability in nature for stocking programme measures
  • Suitability and further development of water quality measurement methods
  • Development for multiple use of the water e.g. in aquaponics and development of products from the waste material (wastewater, sludge, carcasses, skin, head etc.)
  • Product development
  • Techniques for the collection, processing and product development of micro- and macro-algae
  • Development of zero-emission technologies in surface waters
  • Replacement or reduction of fish meal and oil in fish feeds
  • Techniques for the safe use of surface water in recirculation systems (disease avoidance, prevention of the absorption of heavy metals and pesticides)
  • Nitrogen and phosphorus recovery from the draining water to reduce discharge costs into the public supply network or public waters
  • Water treatment by means of ozone, denitrification, ultrasound and other techniques with the aim of reducing fresh water requirements
  • Reduction of the investment costs of recirculation systems
  • Reduction of the operating costs of recirculation systems
  • Construction and further development of mechanical filters and biofilters with the aim of saving space and reducing energy requirements
  • Research into the influence of water quality on the taste of fish
  • Research into the biological mechanisms in the biofilter in the inlet phase at the start of a recirculation system
  • Research and further development of aquaponics