Exploring economic and legal barriers to commercial aquaponics in the EU through the lens of the UK, and policy proposals to address them

Christopher Cammies*, David Mytton, Rosemary Crichton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article (Academic Journal)peer-review

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Abstract

Aquaponics is a food production system which connects recirculating aquaculture (fish) to hydroponics (plants) systems. Although aquaponics has the potential to improve soil conditions by reducing erosion and nutrient loss and has been shown to reduce food production related carbon emissions by up to 73%, few commercial aquaponics projects in the EU and UK have been successful. Key barriers to commercial suc-cess are insufficient initial investment, an uncertain and complex regulatory environment, and the lack of projects operating on a large scale able to demonstrate profitability. In this paper, we use the UK as a case study to discuss the legal and economic barriers to the success of commercial aquaponics in the EU. We also propose three policies: 1) making aquaponics eligible for the new system of Environmental Land Management grants; 2) making aquaponics eligible for organic certification; and 3) clarifying and stream-lining the aquaponics license application process. The UK’s departure from the EU presents a unique op-portunity to review agricultural regulations and subsidies, which in turn could provide evidence that similar reforms are needed in the EU.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1245-1263
Number of pages19
JournalAquaculture International
Volume29
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26 Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).

Keywords

  • aquaponics
  • aquaculture
  • hydroponics
  • Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)
  • Environmental Land Management (ELM)
  • subsidies

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