Organic aquaponics in the European Union

Towards sustainable farming practices in the framework of the new EU regulation

Research by L. Fruscella, B. Kotzen and S. Milliken highlights the sustainable farming practises applied to the new EU regulation. 

Under the new Commission Regulation (EU) 2018/848 which has entered into law in January 2021, aquaponic produce cannot be certified as organic in the European Union.

Given the multiple components of an aquaponic system, which involve growing plants in hydroponic conditions, recycling of fish waste and raising fish in artificial conditions, the achievement of organic certification for aquaponic produce is a complex matter dictated by many parameters.

Although in theory and in practice, aquaponics fulfils nearly all organic farming principles, rules such as the need for crops to be cultivated in soil and the ban on using recirculating aquaculture systems currently prevent aquaponic produce from achieving organic certification. This review examines these rules in the new regulation on horticulture and aquaculture.


L. Fruscella, B. Kotzen and S. Milliken

The rules are evaluated, their foundations discussed, and suggestions are made on the type of system modifications that could potentially make it possible for aquaponic produce to be certified as organic. Suggested modifications include the use of soil in the hydroponic section and the implementation of environmental enrichment for improving the fish welfare in the aquaculture section.

Several EU policies and strategies that support the development of aquaponics are also discussed, and potential policies for the development of organic aquaponics are formulated.

Click here to access the research. 

Source: Wiley Online Library 


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