There’s been a great deal of buzz lately about the role aquaculture can play in achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. In September, the World Economic Forum held a Sustainable Impact Summit. A new partnership was launched between the World Economic Forum, Hatch Blue, and the Nature Conservancy to raise interest and investment in aquaculture projects.
One of the inspirations behind my founding of Grenada Sustainable Aquaculture Ltd (GSA) was an awareness of the critical role that aquaculture plays in sustaining ocean health.
What Are the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)?
In 2015, the United Nations adopted a “shared blueprint for peace and prosperity,” known as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Included are 17 goals that comprise a global action plan to tackle the most pressing issues: racial and gender inequality, access to healthcare, economic parity, climate change, and sustaining forests, oceans, and agricultural lands.
The SDG was the culmination of decades of work, beginning in 1992 with the Earth Summit, where more than 178 countries adopted Agenda 21, creating the first global partnership to protect the environment.
Protecting Ocean Health
United Nations SDG Goal 14 establishes the importance of ocean health and biodiversity to the well-being of people around the world.
Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development.
Participating countries must conserve and use oceans sustainably by 2030 and set a target of ending unsustainable fishing by 2020.
The World Economic Forum estimates that the ocean economy is worth roughly $2.5 trillion. Approximately 40% of the world’s population depend on the ocean for food, renewable energy, clean water, tourism, and trade.
September 2020 data released by the UN indicates that countries are missing the target and that the integrity of ocean ecosystems is threatened by pollution, a growing global population, overfishing, and climate change.
The Role of Aquaculture Operations in Meeting UN Sustainability Targets
According to the Global Aquaculture Alliance, by 2030, 62 percent of all seafood produced for human consumption will come from aquaculture operations. Aquaculture provides a sustainable source of seafood and employment. Projects like GSA can reverse the damages caused by overfishing and pollution and provide sustainable employment that can withstand the challenges of global economic disruptions.
Aquaculture has played a significant role in moving people out of poverty in low-income countries. In Uganda, for instance, 700 women have been provided with training and cutting-edge technologies, enabling them to manage successful Tilapia aquaculture operations.
I’m proud to be part of a global effort to capitalize on the restorative benefits of sustainable aquaculture. We’re using cutting-edge technologies and equipment to minimize Grenada’s environmental footprint. With the use of advanced recycling techniques, such as machine learning and AI to track water quality and growth patterns, aquaculture operators can meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Grenada Sustainable Aquaculture is reversing the damages caused by overfishing, pollution, and climate change. For an economy highly susceptible to environmental disruptions, leveraging foreign investment, creating upscale jobs, and stimulating economic growth is critical to Grenada’s survival.