Book Review - Public, Animal, and Environmental Aquaculture Health
Reviewed by: Bent Rønsholdt
Department of Life Sciences
This book attempts to describe the aquaculture business in a broader, global
perspective or, as the editors put it, using ‘a holistic approach’.
The book’s focus is on aquaculture as a provider of produce for human
consumption with concentration upon issues of public, animal and environmental
health as conveyed by the title. Considering the complexity of the task,
the general impression is that the subject is well covered and with a good
organization of material.
The book contains six chapters, the first
chapter: Status of World Fisheries and the Role of
a brief overview of world fisheries statistics
and a short breakdown of world aquaculture production
on FAO statistics. It summarizes important
issues associated with further development of global
aquaculture that have
been thematic for many scientific meetings
on sustainable aquaculture in recent years (e.g.,
Stickney and McVey,
2002; Baird et al., 1996; Reinertsen
et al., 1995), and serves as an introduction to the
Chapters 2 and 3 take their theme from the book title, separating the discussion
from the viewpoint of non-industrialized and industrialized countries respectively.
As the former chapter draws upon information generated in industrialized
countries and since the latter’s introduction discusses topics equally
relevant to aquaculture management in non-industrialized countries (and
vice versa in chapter 2, p. 44ff.), this division seems rather artificial
and the material in the two chapters has been repeated to some extent.
A look at the content page also shows the similarity in topics and categorization
of health issues. Admittedly, in those categories the species and substances
causing concern diverge, but this is probably more a consequence of differences
in climatic and habitat environments as well as local practices. Furthermore,
the general message from the book is the need for central planning and
international consensus in addressing such issues in a similar manner.
It is the actual application of a given concept that is bound to vary between
nations and even locations, and it is here the major differences and challenges
will appear (briefly mentioned in the conclusion in chapter 4), also due
to traditional, cultural and developmental differences. Therefore, a perhaps
more interesting treatment of the subject would have been an investigation
of the three major farming systems, extensive, semi-intensive and intensive
in context with their public, animal and environmental issues, or vice
versa, since the key point is the dependence on and interaction with the
surroundings (broadly speaking) of these systems and their potential for
control in various settings.
A short chapter 4 introduces the HACCP concept as a superior inspection
system to traditional end-product assessments as a means of assuring consumer
safety. An overview of its current implementation in aquaculture is provided.
The broadening of the HACCP concept from its original purpose to encompass
control of aquatic animal diseases is discussed and an extension of the
concept to manage aquaculture sites recommended. The interested reader
should consult other sources for the actual content and methods of application
of the concept in aquaculture, to which the reference list may serve as
a starting point.
Chapter 5 deals with international organizations that provide guidelines
and systems to regulate international trade, acquire consumer protection,
and develop sustainable aquaculture. I found the overviews of the organizations
having an impact on global aquaculture development, the importance of such
bodies to serve as forums for global development of aquaculture, and as
depositories of knowledge to be highly informative.
The final chapter summarizes the issues discussed earlier and provides the
six indicators for future growth of global aquaculture listed by FAO. Consideration
is also given to emerging obstacles to future expansion of the aquaculture
industry; e.g., consumer acceptance of GMO’s and ethical issues concerning
use of animal protein as a feed source.
At first glance, this book seems to address itself to those involved in
management and, in particular, risk assessment of aquaculture on a strategic
level, e.g., managers, policy makers, public authorities, etc., but everybody
with an interest in public, animal or environmental impact of aquaculture
in a (global) community may benefit from viewing or relating their activities
in such a perspective. For this purpose, the book is recommended as it
provides coverage of the numerous and important issues within its topic
in a systematic and comprehensible manner. Sections might have benefited
with greater discussion upon how to cope with those same issues. The book
illustrates very well the complexity of the aquaculture industry in a global
setting and may serve as supplementary text or background information for
students on a general introductory aquaculture or aquaculture management
course. As the text is more descriptive than analytic, it does not provide
answers, but may well assist in generating a checklist of issues that are
or may be imposed on the industry. In-depth information on individual topics
must be sought elsewhere, to which the references, and in particular those
to publications from international organizations, given at the end of each
chapter may prove useful.