Aquaculture is one of a range of human activities that has the potential to influence environmental condition. Other activities in our coastal waters have the potential to be affected by, or have an effect on, aquaculture (e.g. industrial processes, urban development, municipal services, fisheries, recreation, tourism).
For effective resource planning and management, it is important not only to understand aquaculture environmental interactions but also how these aquaculture activities relate to the needs, expectations and values held by different communities and users of the environment. Consequently, a key additional focus of our research team is societal interactions.
In recent years, we have been involved in a number of research projects aimed at improving our understanding of the broader social and economic interactions of aquaculture, and how these might affect or be affected by environmental interactions or interactions with other marine resource based industries, and how this might vary regionally.
This requires an understanding of community values, and the processes and arrangements that exist for monitoring and protection of these values. This understanding will help industry, managing agencies and local communities better appreciate how management changes and subsequent changes in human activities (e.g. fish pen distribution, other industries or new housing developments) might impact the values communities hold for our marine and coastal environments.
This is very much a developing area of research, but there are already some key research outputs:
Current IMAS projects in this area of research include Social license to operate for aquaculture and Aquaculture-community futures: North West Tasmania.
The infographic below shows some of the interactions we have been exploring.
( Click on image to enlarge. )