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 success 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.
The team 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 streamlining the aquaponics license application process. The UK’s departure from the EU presents a unique opportunity to review agricultural regulations and subsidies, which in turn could provide evidence that similar reforms are needed in the EU.
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Cammies, Christopher & Mytton, David & Crichton, Rosemary. (2021). Exploring economic and legal barriers to commercial aquaponics in the EU through the lens of the UK and policy proposals to address them. Aquaculture International. 29. 10.1007/s10499-021-00690-w.