CEVA and Agrocampus-Ouest hosted the second French round-table to discuss IMTA social issues on 14 November 2018 in Rennes. The event gathered 16 Atlantic Area stakeholders from academia, the aquaculture industry, relevant French authorities, environmental NGOs and public organisations supporting agricultural trade and industrial development.
The event was split up into three sessions:
- Presentations by stakeholders to set the playing ground by introducing some of the recent conflicts related to the implementation of French aquaculture projects.
- Round-table to discuss social issues around IMTA products
- Round-table to discuss the social implications of IMTA development
Sessions 2 and 3 were in turn subdivided into the following topics:
- Definition of social best practices concerning French Atlantic IMTA.
- Bottlenecks for the development of social best practices.
- Priority social areas for the development of French Atlantic IMTA.
Outcome of the discussions:
Promotion of IMTA, creation of an IMTA eco-label and the definition of IMTA’s environmental benefits were the main identified best practices.
Social bottlenecks are i) a non-understanding or even a bad concept of IMTA within local communities, ii) the need for quality standards to govern IMTA production, iii) the difficulties of setting up labels and iv) technical farming aspects coupled to social issues, e.g. ensuring local origin of farmed products, etc.
Priority areas for development are i) a definition of IMTA (scale of the concession, company or bay, etc.), ii) the demonstration of IMTA’s environmental benefits, iii) improvement of the aquaculture sector’s ability to communicate with wider audiences, iv) a clear definition of IMTA’s target market.
Environmental and economic sustainability, improved communication to wider audiences, empowering stakeholders through participatory processes to implement IMTA projects and a focus on regulations to enhance and facilitate the implementation of innovative farming systems were amongst the identified best practices for IMTA development in the French Atlantic Area.
Experts discussed the following as social bottlenecks for the development of IMTA: i) lack of knowledge of IMTA -farming techniques, farming environment, visibility of IMTA products in the marketplace, ii) inefficiency of certain national regulations and management tools governing IMTA, iii) low social acceptability.
The identified priority areas were i) the need for a definition of IMTA, ii) the promotion of IMTA and its products, iii) Skill building through education, training and cooperation, iv) the need for socio-economic impact assessments illustrate the profitability of IMTA systems.