Investigating Cross-Sectoral Synergies through Integrated Aquaculture, Fisheries, and Agriculture Phosphorus Assessments: A Case Study of Norway

Journal Article

Future phosphorus (P) scarcity and eutrophication risks demonstrate the need for systems-wide P assessments. Despite the projected drastic increase in world-wide fish production, P studies have yet to include the aquaculture and fisheries sectors, thus eliminating the possibility of assessing their relative importance and identifying opportunities for recycling. Using Norway as a case, this study presents the results of a current-status integrated fisheries, aquaculture, and agriculture P flow analysis and identifies current sectoral linkages as well as potential cross-sectoral synergies where P use can be optimized. A scenario was developed to shed light on how the projected 2050 fivefold Norwegian aquaculture growth will likely affect P demand and secondary P resources. The results indicate that, contrary to most other countries where agriculture dominates, in Norway, aquaculture and agriculture drive P consumption and losses at similar levels and secondary P recycling, both intra- and cross-sectorally, is far from optimized. The scenario results suggest that the projected aquaculture growth will make the Norwegian aquaculture sector approximately 4 times as P intensive as compared to agriculture, in terms of both imported P and losses. This will create not only future environmental challenges, but also opportunities for cross-sectoral P recycling that could help alleviate the mineral P demands of agriculture. Near-term policy measures should focus on utilizing domestic fish scrap for animal husbandry and/or fish feed production. Long-term efforts should focus on improving technology and environmental systems analysis methods to enable P recovery from aquaculture production and manure distribution in animal husbandry.