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Fighting Eutrophication, one Wetland at a Time

The Västankvarn Wetland project includes the construction of two wetlands. It is a constructed Wetland built in 2019 in an area of 1.6 Ha of land. The main purpose of this project was to create a system to capture excessive nutrient runoff coming from nearby agricultural areas, from entering the coastlines in the Raseborg areas, and therefore reducing eutrophication and improving biodiversity. The project has the collaboration of multidisciplinary experts from the Bioeconomy Department of Novia UAS, Västankvarn and locals.

There were a few challenges. Pesticides represent a challenge to the wetland; they are a threat to the environment. Another problem as the sulphuric acid. The project researchers took sample of the wetland soil to check it. As a precaution, they added a few hundred tons of lime were added to the soil, to prevent the sulphuric acid to activate and be released.

This is an exciting project, and besides its benefits to eutrophication issues and the biodiversity, it will provide researchers and environmental sciences students with an excellent location to carry out their studies. The Västankvarn province is located not far from the capital city of Helsinki, making connections through roads and stations easier to visitors and researchers.


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Business diversication

Doing agriculture or aquaculture farming business nowadays is demanding a sustainable and eco-friendly approach. There are a few reasons for that, mainly customers are living in the cities where is required to reduce the ecofootprint in every aspect of living. Simply customers want ecofriendly products. At the same time a sustainable approach for using resources, slowly coming into the agricultural sector and with the regulation changing understanding how to do business and take care of nature. So the pressure from both sides steps by step changes life for the better future.

Changing approach in agriculture costing a lot, new methods sometimes need new technology and but at the same time give unexpected benefits. One of the most significant benefits for farms became naturally interested from the citizens to come and check how it goes. That desire brings visitors and money with them.

Quite soon farmers realised that eco-friendly farm could also create profit from the tourists. So the answer did not take a long time. Farm and tourists clusters have appeared all over the world.

“SalmonFarm” Oy, one of the pioneers of salmon aquaculture in Finland. Located at Kimito municipality of Finland is took the wave and with the development of the main business started to develop hotel and restaurant business in the Turku archipelago.
Advantageous location, high-quality fish products, smart organization of accommodation for tourists and business became a success for the local community. It brings about 20 employees in the low season and more than triple during the summer. The local community now is more sustainable and wealthy.

But not only tourism and accommodation make the “SalmonFarms” business diversified. The local market showed a demand for sustainable products for the fisher industry. Own need and increased demand for the local provider for feeding fish in the cages lead the company to a new business that became a main investment at the moment. Catch herring and sprat by own fleet with subsequent production fishmeal and fish oil lead company for a new market, making it a leader and supporting sustainability. Catching and using local fish as feed for the salmon in the cages SalmonFarm reduces foreign nutrients and circulates the sea's nutrients. The fish caught in the Baltic Sea, processed into feed, and fed in local cages, is involved in phosphorus and nitrogen processing.

Finally, activities of the local company support sustainability, provide recreation services and improve food security in the region. All benefits were shared with the local community and people all over Finland, who decided to spend a vacation in that region. At the moment, the company are profitable and brings income for the owners. So, the conclusion that could be done that sustainable business brings benefits for all.


Photo Credits Karlis Dzjamko: Pexels


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Advantages of certifications for aquaculture farms

In recent years, people have become aware of the adverse impacts of their activities on the environment. Aquaculture is one of these activities. For example, in the case of a farm whose the main activity is fish farming, the following aspects may have impacts on the environment:

  • Feed the fish: when the amount of food distributed to the fish is greater than their needs, the food not consumed remains in the environment and constitutes an important source of nutrients. Among these nutrients, nitrogen and phosphorus are known to participate in water eutrophication which is a major problem in the Baltic Sea.
  • Take care of fish, maintain equipment and infrastructure: the use of medicines or all other types of products for fish care, maintenance of equipment or infrastructure or even sea travel constitutes a potential source of pollution of environment and may have impacts on the flora and fauna of the region.

For these reasons, the implementation of an environmental management system (EMS) is relevant for an aquaculture farm because it will allow the farm to determine the environmental aspects and impacts of its products and activities, to set objectives to reduce its impacts and put in place the necessary actions to achieve its objectives. The implementation of an EMS also consists of monitoring the achievement of these objectives through indicators and the implementation of corrective actions. Therefore, an EMS allows an aquaculture farm to comply with environmental regulations but also to have a competitive advantage while improving the public image of the organization. ISO 14001 is an example of certification of environmental management systems.

Other certifications can present advantages for aquaculture farms such as the FSSC 22000 certification (Food Safety System Certification 22000) including in particular the ISO 22000 certification. This assures consumers that the certified organization seeks to produce safe food for human health. In addition, a farm that seeks to feed the fish it raises with healthy products is also a farm that will have a competitive advantage over these competitors and improve its image with consumers. For example, the GMP + FSA (Feed Safety Management) standard can attest to the safety of foods used to feed fish.


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A comparison between aquaculture facility on land and out to sea (on-land/offshore)

Producing over 50 percent of consumed seafood worldwide, aquaculture has become the world's fastest-growing food-producing industry, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

The risk of disease contamination is reduced by growing fish in land-based aquaculture systems, in closed and controlled environments. Fish production is completely natural and healthier as no antibiotics or disease treatments are involved in a normal production process. Carrying costs can be reduced as RAS technology is not entirely dependent on a specific water source and these land-based aquaculture systems can be built close to the market, resulting in a shorter time for transportation. Water pollution from the feed, feces, and chemical waste is being signified ally reduced by advanced filtering capabilities, making it a much more sustainable alternative.RAS allows continuous harvest round the year and compared to other methods fish grow to commercial size faster, In terms of efficiency and productivity. In RAS water temperature, oxygen, and carbon dioxide is controlled to their optimum level, which results in better conversion of feed to fish mass, lower contribution on the entire production chain, and lower production costs. On the other hand, it is comparatively risky and expensive setting up an offshore aquaculture farm, though there are a lot of offshore aquaculture farms existing which are paid off. A lot of uncertainty in the open ocean space is there. People aren't familiar with a lot of novel production technology. For example, a lot of new species in the open ocean are there.People are commonly concerned with traditional aquaculture species for example salmon, shrimp, and tilapia - as they know both production cost and profitable revenue. Also, the regulatory environment is completely different for different areas where people are thinking about doing open ocean aquaculture. Permitting the producers to operate in tropical waters can also have a positive impact on the production of the fish.


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Is Fish Farming a Fishy Business?

Do you care where the fish you buy comes from? If you are like me, a person concerned with the environment, then you should care. Fish farming was created to raise fish in a more sustainable way than wild caught fish. At least, that was the idea behind it. How can we trust the business? The main reason fish farms were created, was to keep up with the growing demand for seafood around the globe. But, with the rapid increase in demand, and consequently an increase in fish production, how can we be certain fish farming is keeping its words when comes to sustainabil

When fish are being overbreed, can they still be classified as sustainable? Some fish farms also fed with feed pellets containing GMO soybeans, in addition to antibiotics and hormones, which consequently, end up in our stomachs.

Check for labels! Just like other sustainable products, sustainable farm raised fish comes with labels on them. The more consumers demand for sustainability, the more they will be available. When we buy fish from fish farms, we are helping wild fish species, by protecting them from overfishing. Real sustainable fish farming do not use additives, chemicals, antibiotics, or hormones. Additionally, their fish is fed with vegetables. Sustainability comes with responsibilities. To be classified as sustainable, goes beyond just how you raise the fish, but also how you maintain an overall sustainable business operation. It involves monitoring, to make sure no wastes are produced, and to keep the water quality. They can also maintain their sustainability by using wind energy, producing drinking water from seawater, cleaning their own waste water, and making sure every part of the fish is used for a purpose. The goal is to not produce any waste.



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Local Food Fish Production

I heard, Finnish people love to consume fish. In Bangladesh a proverb goes that “Fish and rich make a Bengali”, we understand the value of fish. Having Baltic Sea is the most beneficial site as a fish resource. Finland has over 5,000km of coastline and around 10% of the country’s surface is covered by water. Moreover, local produced fishes are definitely a healthy choice. Nowadays, in Finland there are many fish farms aimed to provide local produced nutritious fishes. The total consumption is about 15 kg per capita per annum which is not satisfied. Though the regulations are strict regarding fish farming, the production volume would be extensive in future. Let’s talk about local food fishes.

The most famous cultured fish is Rainbow Trout. Among the 95% of the fish farmed for food in Finland is rainbow trout. In the 1970’s Finland started the culture program. This fish contains a lot of vitamin E12 and D, omega-3 fatty acid. Because of reasonable prices this species has its own marketplace. The production amount is around 10 to 12 million kilos per annum.
From the beginning of the 21st century Finland started to culture the white fish. As this fish is available all the season, it is famous differently. The farming technique is similar to rainbow trout but white fish requires more professional skills as a sensitive species.
Pike perch, this species is only valuable in Finland, but also worldwide. The attractive facts about this fish are low fat and boneless. This species requires warm water for culture. It grows at double speed in warm water than natural water.
As pike perch, another famous boneless fish is Sturgeon. This fish contains very low fat and is a popular choice for barbeque. The sturgeon eggs are known as luxury seafood. The interesting part is this fish is called a living fossil.
There are also other fishes like arctic char or trout in Finland. There are diverse sorts of production facilities. The composition of the facilities depends on the water area and the species to be raised. If we talk about offshore culture, it has challenges like ice cover in winter or water waves. So, this type of farming requires stronger frames, cages, anchorage and modern technologies.

There are diverse sorts of production facilities. The composition of the facilities depends on the water area and the species to be raised. If we talk about offshore culture, it has challenges like ice cover in winter or water waves. So, this type of farming requires stronger frames, cages, anchorage and modern technologies.The fish farmer's professional skills guarantee high quality farmed fish because; only qualitative fish can produce healthy food.



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Raw Material and Waste Management

The current demand for salmon fish is skyrocketing. And to meet this demand, hundreds of fish farms have turned their attention to salmon fish production. However, in most cases, these fish farms are not economically and environmentally sustainable. Most fish farms are in a very bad position in waste management. So, at the same time, there is a need to meet the demand for salmon fish for all these people and focus on waste management for a sustainable environment.
Nowadays with the advancement of technology, the matter of waste management has become much easier than before. Most fish farms now use waste material as raw material for other purposes. If we think from that point of view, we can see that basically there is nothing as waste material, everything is being used as raw material. As interesting as the idea may sound, it is not. Many fish farms are coming up with a statement that they are not producing any waste, as all their waste is being used as raw material. But the matter is not one hundred percent true. Because these waste treatments are so expensive, fish farms often do not comply with them properly, because they have to keep the economy in mind.
Some salmon fish farms claim that they re-make fish meal with the waste material that the original product contains after marketing. This food is not given to all fish from which these waste materials come but is used as food for other species of fish. The next step is to make biodiesel from fish fat or use it to produce power. And all these products are used for fish farm maintenance. Which plays a very important role in the sustainable development of the fish farm.


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Pharmaceuticals in Aquaculture

Aquaculture is one of the fastest growing industries in Europe. Growing demand for fish and shellfish gives business opportunities to farmers who are ready to take up the challenge to fulfil those needs. European aquaculture sector is very diverse but only half of seafood is farmed leaving the other half imported. Intensification of the industry is naturally needed to meet the public demand but at what cost...?

Salmon, shrimp, mackerel, tuna, rainbow trout or other seafood farming is much more prone to diseases than wild caught product. Of course, if it is done under strictly monitored and controlled conditions, it is possible to reach the highest quality standards from the beginning to the end. Unfortunately, along with intensity, there go problems. Lower immunity, health or reproductive problems are some of the many issues intensive seafood farming is facing. It is much easier for infectious diseases to spread in the water than it is on the land.

National, and international regulations approved a variety of pharmaceutical medicines that do not compromise a food safety for human consumption. Those include antibiotics, vaccines, or preventive medicines. One of the tactics preventing from human ingestion of any medicinal residue in the fish is the 'withdrawal period' that gives enough time between the end of the treatment and harvest of the animal. In comparison with 1990 when the use of antibiotics was at its peak, the overall use of those drugs has significantly decreased. For example, the use of antibiotics in seafood farming in Norway has lowered because of development of a batter vaccine. In 2004, Norway produced 23 times more salmon and trout than in 1985; in the same period, the use of antibiotics dropped by a factor of 25. (CONSENSUS). Unfortunately, not everyone tries to play fair and implement the healthiest solutions. China is the largest producer and exporter of aquatic products. However, the information about usage of antibiotics is very limited to public. Many seafood medications are not registered or are rejected due to high health risks, therefore their potential illegal usage can cause much more implications in human's health, for example causing cancer.

Bacteria, parasites, and fungal diseases also threaten aquaculture. European Animal Health & Welfare Research has published that limited availability of treatments and prevention tools is a serious constraint on the health management in fish farming. 304 different veterinary medicinal products are authorised for fish, against 10.000 for dogs and 8.000 for cattle. Half of them are vaccines, followed by antibiotics, representing the 29% of the treatments. Half of veterinary medicinal products are aimed to Atlantic salmon and trout (respectively 31% and 20%), while the 16% of them are directed towards a general category of fish. (FishMedPlus Coalition).
With the implementation of stricter rules and restrictions, pharmaceutical companies have more troubles registering medications and treatments for aquacultural use and their limited availability can lead to a massive product wastage that will not pass the health examinations for human consumption. Therefore, there is much more research to be done to find solutions for improvement for the seafood's and human's sake.

Personally, I first stopped eating fish for the ethical reasons, having in mind overfishing and bycatch. I could not determine whether the seafood I consume comes from a sustainable source or has it made its way to my plate by some other way. I want to be a responsible consumer and that requires me to be informed, seek scientifically backed up facts and not be ignorant, especially when it comes to my own health. I do not eat seafood and it is my own choice, what are you going to do about it?


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Feed to Food - Aquaculture

The world’s population is increasing exponentially and with it its demand for food.
This increased demand for food is causing problems regarding food security.

The production of animal protein requires feed, the rate at which an animal converts food into tissue is called the food conversion rate. The lower the food conversion rate is, the more efficient the animal is at converting feed into protein. In this blog, I’m going to be comparing the food conversion rates of farm-raised fish, poultry, and cattle. Hopefully, this comparison will help you make better choices in the foods you consume.

The most environmentally friendly option is to cut animal protein out of your diet entirely, however, this isn’t an option for a large part of the population.

As seen in the image below, farm-raised fish have the lowest feed conversion rate, followed by poultry, hogs, and lastly cattle. As you can see, farm-raised fish is roughly 6x more efficient in converting feed into animal protein than cattle. Next to this farmed salmon production emits fewer greenhouse gasses than cattle production. Making fish the most environmentally friendly animal protein available.

So if you haven’t yet decided what to make for dinner tonight and you aren’t vegan, maybe try some salmon instead of a steak. This way you help the environment and not only your belly will be satiated but also your conscience.

GAA Food Supply Infographic Feed Conversion RatioGAA Food Supply Infographic Greenhouse Gas Emissions2







Global Aquaculture Alliance. (2021). Retrieved from



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