There has been significant interest in the development of integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (IMTA) in Europe. Much of this interest has come from academia and regulators, and while elements within the European aquaculture industry have expressed an interest, to date, the adoption of the concept has been limited. Part of the attraction for regulators and academics is the ecological/economic win/win that is associated with eco-innovation solutions. However, if we are to understand why there has been limited uptake of IMTA in Europe, perhaps it is necessary to look at the issue in terms of trade-offs for the individual farmer or company. Using this viewpoint, we investigate the balance of trade-offs for the individual farmer or company to diversify from a traditional fin-fish production business into an IMTA system. In doing so, we reveal that the balance of trade-offs is currently not sufficiently positive to motivate the large-scale uptake of IMTA in Europe, and we contrast this against the situation in Asia where the balance of trade-offs gives better support for the adoption and practice of IMTA. By better understanding the trade-offs for the individual, it is possible to better understand the conditions that will promote the development of IMTA in Europe.
- cage culture
- Integrated multi-trophic aquaculture
- Social license
- Extractive aquaculture