SARF037: Strategic waste management and minimisation in aquaculture 

Start Date: 19/02/2007
End Date: 30/09/2007
Main Contractor(s): Thistle Environmental Partnership
Other Sponsor(s):  


Objective 1: To provide ball-park estimates of current arisings and disposal routes of the key waste streams in Scottish aquaculture on a regional basis, as well as fish mortalities.

Objective 2: To identify opportunities and barriers to significantly improving waste management practices for key waste streams in Scottish aquaculture in line with the waste hierarchy (i.e. waste minimisation, reuse and then recycling). Objective 3: To develop scenarios to address the barriers identified in Objective 2 and exploit the opportunities for more sustainable waste management practices.

Objective 4: To present and discuss our findings with selected stakeholders.


Although the aquaculture industry recycles (and incinerates) some waste, the majority still goes to landfill. And, the use of waste minimisation techniques (i.e. waste prevention) is limited to isolated examples. This suggests there is considerable potential for more sustainable waste management practices to be adopted. Whilst the industry has become much more environmentally aware over recent years due to the widespread uptake of environmental management systems (EMS) and the need to drive down costs due to low market prices, there remain barriers to adopting more sustainable waste minimisation practices. These barriers include: o The limited (although expanding) waste management infrastructure. o The relatively remote location of much of the industry. o The limited resource delivery infrastructure for bulk feeds. Technical issues surrounding recycling and reuse of plastics. o Biosecurity issues around recycling and reuse of plastics and waste transport. o The financial cost of investment in new technologies. o Knowledge, perception and the availability of human resources. o The lack of attention in product design for end of life reuse and recycling. The result is high and increasing waste disposal costs. Also, some companies have not been able to easily address waste disposal at all for certain wastes, particularly redundant equipment. Further, in some cases, there is a negative perception and legal implication associated with the storage of such wastes. From an environmental perspective, the vast majority of aquaculture wastes are potentially reusable or at least recyclable. And, in the longer term, there is the opportunity to reduce the waste stream considerably if waste minimisation could be adopted, particularly for certain feed bags. Therefore, the adoption of better techniques would assist the country in meeting its obligations to reduce the amount of waste being landfilled, as well as helping to reduce carbon emissions and improving the local environment.