The implications of aquaculture policy and regulation for the development of integrated multi-trophic aquaculture in Europe

K. A. Alexander, T. P. Potts, S. Freeman, D. Israel, J. Johansen, D. Kletou, M. Meland, D. Pecorino, C. Rebours, M. Shorten, D. L. Angel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Demands for fish and shellfish as food products are increasing; however, the potential for large scale production faces numerous challenges. Policy and legislation are likely to have an impact on the development of more sustainable aquaculture practices such as integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (IMTA). This study investigated the flexibility within the current governance frameworks across six European countries to allow for the adoption and management of IMTA. A snowball approach was used to identify relevant EU legislation, which was used as the basis by which to identify national/regional legislation which implemented EU requirements. This data was combined with a desk study to create a legislation overview for each of six countries, which was then subject to a Comparative Legal Analysis of the regulatory frameworks. Key findings were that inter alia: an existing policy focus on environmental sustainability and technological innovation may be an incentive for IMTA; and that the regulatory framework is complex and extensive and this may be a barrier to IMTA. Overall, this study found that national frameworks were generally amenable to experimental IMTA pilot schemes, but that for commercial expansion substantial regulatory reform would be required. Particularly, there may be a need for change to some aspects of legal regimes relating to the transfer of disease, fish health and food safety.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-23
Number of pages8
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The research leading to these results has been undertaken as part of the IDREEM project (Increasing Industrial Resource Efficiency in European Mariculture, ) and has received funding from the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement no. 308571 .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015.


  • Aquaculture governance
  • Comparative law
  • IMTA
  • Integrated aquaculture
  • Sustainable aquaculture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science


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