Profitability is one of the factors to take into account when considering sustainable development of an activity. This factor has special importance in Mediterranean aquaculture with high internal competition levels. In order to achieve this objective, it is of paramount importance to decrease costs, differentiate products and an optimal culture management in agreement with the ecosystem capacity.
Three examples of economical sustainability:
a. Monosex cultures. One sex is chosen with higher growth rates through environmental manipulation. Experiences with sea bass and eel are on the way. Success in this technique would shorten productive cycle and decrease costs.
b. Analyzing quality and consumer preferences would help to create quality labels and certificates for certain products.
c. Knowledge of mussel production profitability and needs linked to environmental conditions in Ebro river bays would help increase profitability of this culture through improved management techniques.
Sustainable development implies an environmental respectful aquaculture. That is why aquaculture facilities should minimize its environmental impact. Recirculation systems are a good choice to minimize water and surface usage and reduce waste but its cost effectiveness still needs to be shown in some applications.
On the other hand, it is of paramount importance to find adequate substitutes to fish oil and fish meal in order to reduce the impact on fisheries. In order to achieve that, more research in physiology and metabolism areas is required to elucidate how fish can use alternative protein sources.
The following are good examples of environmental sustainability:
d. Optimization of land-based recirculation systems and their design, taking into account not only culture yield but product quality and animal welfare as well.
e. Optimization of sea bream carbon hydrates usage and understanding of carbon hydrates and fat metabolism.