Practical Aquaculture – Sustainability and Ethical challenge of Business Development

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Practical Aquaculture – Sustainability and Ethical Business Development

Aquaculture is a practice that keeps on gaining economic significance because of the dietary benefit related with the white meat instead of red meat (Pullin, Froese, and Pauly 53; Thu and Lebailly 1). This has meant expanded raising of fish to meet man’s needs as those given by the fisheries are not satisfactory even with their exploitation (Bosma and Verdegem 58; Rey-Valette et al. 1; Narit et al. 185). Aquaculture is done in an open or closed system and using fresh, brackish or marine/saline water (Frankic and Hershner 517; Thu and Lebailly 1). On the off chance that it isn’t controlled, this may result in the overuse and overproduction rendering this sector irrelevant and unproductive in future. Sustainable production should thus be advocated for. Sustainability is understood as the optimum utilization of resources without jeopardizing its availability for the generations to come. Assessing this sustainable use is sometimes difficult because it encompasses several areas (The Fish Site 2). Frameworks tackle these areas (social, economic, environmental and institutional) independently enabling sustainable use to be assessed effectively (Fletcher 2). In aquaculture, developing a framework for sustainability assessment is important because it will help gauge the level of current practices, correct for erroneous practices so as to assure the availability of these resources for future generations. This will thus ensure that aquaculture remains environmentally responsible as it also benefits the economy and the society (Bosma and Verdegem 58; Frankic and Hershner 519; Fezzardi et al. 6). The framework below intends to outline indicators for sustainable aquaculture. Indicators are clues that can be used to monitor and explain a condition (Fezzardi et al. 15; Grieve et al. 14; Le Gallic 4). It also describes the criteria used to select these indicators (Rey-Valette et al. 5).
Ecological and Environmental Dimension
Indicators in this dimension fall into two main categories of resource use and pollution (Caffey, Kazmierczak, and Avault 23; Gholifar et al. 192). In resource use, several indicators are identified. The quantity of water consumed for aquaculture is of importance given that water is shared among several sectors and thus its use should not jeopardize its availability for other uses (Pullin, Froese, and Pauly 63). The biodiversity of fish species is also critical since aquaculture plays a role in restocking and providing a safe haven for endangered species. A lack of biodiversity depicts unsustainability maybe due to the introduction of invasive fish (Frankic and Hershner 3). Level of land (ha) used for fish ponds should justify the volume of harvest (kg). Studies show that ponds use more land that does not correspond to the output. This conclusion is made, when compared with barricaded ponds that rely on natural productivity. Land use also affects biodiversity (Bosma and Verdegem 60). Lastly, the wild fish used to as the startup stock determines the sustainability of the practice based on the volume of output (Pullin, Froese, and Pauly 61).
Several indicators can also be used to examine the pollution levels. The quality of the outlet water speaks volumes. It reveals the biological wastes and chemical substances in the ponds such as flocculants, liming materials, medicines and pesticides. These effluents, when released into the natural water bodies, will cause pollution proportional to their volumes in the outlet water. It also reveals the extra expenses that are likely to be incurred by sludge treatment (Pullin, Froese, and Pauly 61). The purity of ground water should also be ascertained to ensure that pathogens and contaminants such as heavy metals that occur in feed do not percolate into the ground water in natural reservoirs which is used for human consumption (Bosma and Verdegem 61).
Economic Dimension
The economic dimension looks at the monetary benefits derived from aquaculture since it is primarily a business activity that people engage in for profits (Fezzardi et al. 12). Like the ecological dimension, its indicators are divided into the categories of profitability, efficiency, risks and marketing. Profitability is the first aim of a business outfit fit. In this industry this can be assessed in terms of the gross revenue, overall profits, operation costs and returns on investments. The gross revenue advises on the contribution of this activity to the GDP of a country in relation to other sectors. A significant contribution and steady increases mark it as an important sector that should be nurtured to enjoy its full potential. The profits also inform on the ability of business owners and participants to expand and even engage in corporate social responsibility for the benefit of the surrounding communities. Operation costs encompass fixed and variable costs. The extent of these costs determines the hurdles participants pass through to run their businesses as they reduce the profit margin. High costs indicate difficulty and consequently reflect on the unsustainability of this sector while low costs display a favorable environment. The variable costs are the most significant as they have unanticipated impacts.
Efficiency is looked at from the Fish Conversion Ratio (FCR) which compares the weight of the feed used and that of the harvest. It is determined by several factors among them the quantity and quality of feed, the present food web and the fish density. A lower FCR should be agitated for as it is associated with technical efficiency with regards to feed allocation. The technical aspect has a financial consequence and making its effectiveness a subject of interest (Caffey, Kazmierczak, and Avault 23; Bosma and Verdegem 63).
Being a business, the popularity of fish products should thus be used to substantiate the marketing extent (Caffey, Kazmierczak, and Avault 23). This can be shown by the populations that consume these products both in the locality where they are produced and also abroad. A high consumption rate depicts the viability of aquaculture and consequently, the number of outlets will also reflect on this. Where supplying outlets are few, the products on offer may not be as popular since outlets are also out to seek gains and only dwell on profitable projects.
Risks are part of investments. In aquaculture, risk indicators are in the form of compliance with the set regulations and the fluctuation in profits. The ability of stakeholders especially fish farmers and fish processors to adhere to guidelines is a positive signal to the sustainability of aquaculture. It results in continued operations as products are not rejected, no lawsuits are filed and no businesses are closed down. A low compliance rate is likely to impact on client and investor confidence causes clients to lose faith in (Caffey, Kazmierczak, and Avault 23).
Social Dimension
The social dimension of aquaculture calls for it acceptability at the societal levels (Fletcher 14). Several factors contribute to this and hence should be used as indicators for sustainable development of aquaculture. For an endeavor to be embraced, it should benefit the communities that surround it. Providing food and employment creation determine its success levels as a measure of labor and also protection from competitors and new entrants (Narit et al. 188). Where a business unit neglects its surroundings, then the community does little to protect and refuse to associate with it causing its downfall. Local ownership is another indicator as it communicates on the keenness of a foreign company to stay put and its appreciation for the locals. This could be done through the opening of share ownership for employees and other locals (Gholifar et al. 196).
For those employed, the compensation rates should be fair and match the labor input and the time dedicated. Poor pay causes losses due to the loss of employees to competitors, constant worker strikes which compromise production and also taint the reputation of involved companies. This also puts such properties at risk of destruction and is likely to attract retaliation from locals which is bad for business. Contrary to this, fair pays boost the morale, creates cohesion which impacts positively on production. The benefits that workers derive and the measures put in place to provide worker safety are another indicator. These help to judge the welfare attitudes of the players and in turn inform their long term position. It will also predict the willingness of people to work in such settings (HLPE 23; Caffey, Kazmierczak, and Avault 23).
The practice of fish rearing should not impede other economic activities and thus their level of correlation should be used to as an indicator for sustainability. Assessment of available land for agriculture, forestry, space for water sports and suitability of the effluents as fertilizer to increase crop production, reduce fertilizer budgets, increase income and diversify foods (Bosma and Verdegem 61; Pullin, Froese, and Pauly 66).
Institutional Dimension
The Institutional dimension aims at streamlining the activities of aquaculture with requirements guidelines and standards (Thu and Lebailly 2). The presence of guiding institutions provides an authority that licenses fish farmers and related companies after meeting certain conditions. These institutions set out guidelines such as HACCP, export conditions of products and operational standards. They also follow on adherence and deal with defaulters (Gholifar et al. 197). The presence of these institutions ensures errors are minimized and loopholes sealed and improvements made for sustainable development of aquaculture (Fletcher 13; Narit et al. 188).
Conclusion
Indicators are important parameters that can be used to explain a condition and also make decisions. When they are outlined in a framework, these indicators ensure that the environment, economy, community and institutions are protected against the negative effects that may arise from aquaculture (Le Gallic 4; Kevin Parris 26).

Works Cited
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Rey-Valette, H. et al. _x0093_An Approach to Co-Construct Sustainable Development Indicators in Aquaculture._x0094_ Montpellier Proceedings 1 (2010): 1_x0096_12. Print.
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