Commission on Ecosystem Management

Ecosystem Based Aquaculture

The Ecosystem-based Aquaculture Group (E-bAG) is an IUCN experts group with global expertise on aquaculture management and development, including biodiversity, ecosystem processes and precautionary approaches. 
TU-IUCN visit

Thematic Group Lead

François Simard 

Future World demands of marine protein will be mainly covered by the increasing supply of aquaculture products, which as growing activity in many coastal and marine areas, is faced with environmental, social and technical issues. Aquaculture development requires addressing its future relationship with marine biodiversity, ecosystem services and climate change scenarios.

The Ecosystem-based Aquaculture Group (E-bAG) is an IUCN experts group with global expertise on aquaculture management and development, including biodiversity, ecosystem processes and precautionary approaches. 

The E-bAG is being established to address the need for aquaculture competence within the Commission on Ecosystem Management of the IUCN, contributing to the leading paradigm in conservation and management issues of aquatic environments.


The mission of the IUCN/CEM/E-bAG is to foster the sustainable development of aquaculture and to promote the conservation of related marine and freshwater biodiversity. To fulfil this mission, the IUCN/CEM/E-bAG will seek to influence aquaculture policy and related conservation strategies as well as to propose responsible management methods and tools. The IUCN/CEM/E-bAG will build bridges between stakeholders; it will offer guidance to managers and practitioners, and will develop an integrated approach between institutions and environmental organizations, both governmental and non-governmental.

The E-bAG will incorporate in its objectives the five priority programmatic elements of the Commission of Ecosystem Management – see These five objectives of the E-bAG are:


  1. The Ecosystem Approach - To promote and facilitate the implementation of the Ecosystem Approach in all aquaculture production levels and procedures;
  2. Ecosystem Services – To identify and to measure the importance (value) of ecosystem services in relation with aquaculture practices.
  3. Indicators of Ecosystem Status - To develop and apply indicators to measure the changes on the status of ecosystems (vulnerability; risk of species extinction) because of aquaculture related procedures and activities;
  4. Ecosystem Management Tools – To develop and facilitate the use of Ecosystem Management Tools (e.g., capacity-building, training, coastal zone development) in the recommendations and conclusions the group would come up with; 
  5. Ecosystem Restoration - To establish a capacity of aquaculture to promote Ecosystem Restoration (e.g. species re-stocking) and adaptation to climate change (e.g., protection of shorelines);

For meeting its objectives, E-bAG will develpp several activities such as: reviewing the status of ecosystems of aquaculture sites, identifying and considering ecosystem issues in aquaculture management; promoting better practices and sustainable approaches in ecosystem-based aquaculture management; organizing multidisciplinary dialogues on aquaculture ecosystem issues; exploring positive interactions between aquaculture and natural ecosystem to enhance sustainability of the activity; providing IUCN mechanisms with high level aquaculture expertise; facilitating collaboration and promote synergies amongst IUCN members related with aquaculture development.


E-bAG is led by IUCN Global Marine and Polar Programme. Partners include the Federation of European Aquaculture producers, several research institute’s laboratories, IUCN national committees and consultants.

Planned Activities

Project 1: Sustainable Fish Feed
This project aims at drafting and publishing a book on the sustainability of aquaculture fish feed. This project is mainly funded by the French Ministry of Ecology. The final document is planned to be launch by the end of 2015.

Project 2: Aquaculture and Marine Protected Areas
This project aims at understanding and analyzing all relationships between aquaculture (any type) and marine protected areas (all categories), with the objective of identifying what kind of aquaculture is compatible with MPAs, in particular for developing economic resources in MPAs and around.
This project is mainly funded by the Foundation Albert 2 of Monaco in relation with the Monaco Blue Initiative. A report will be drafted and published in 2016.



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