Aquaculture Project

This project is the culmination of a year of research, and includes two papers and a presentation. I examined Recirculating Aquaculture Systems, a land based method of farming fish, and used two facilities from Maine as my case study. They are nearly identical; with the same technology, farming huge numbers of fish, and located just 25 miles away. Yet one was received a warm welcome while the other received push back. My research set out to understand why.

Below you’ll find two papers and a presentation. For the policy paper, I conducted interviews with stakeholders around the facilities in Maine. I identified some key differences in the facilities that led to the difference in reception, primarily that the welcomed facility is re-purposing an old mill, while the other is clear cutting to build a new facility. I identified a framework that communities can use to assess future aquaculture companies building in their community. The psychology paper looks specifically at the facility that received the push back, and examined the psychological mechanisms behind the conflict. I then propose realistic recommendations to resolve that conflict. My presentation is a combination of the two papers, adding the psychological recommendations into the policy framework to assess new facilities.

Presentation Abstract/Project Overview:

Aquaculture is a huge source of seafood for the globe, and the industry is projected to grow enormously in the next fifty years. As climate change continues to change the environmental and economic landscape of the world, governments and communities will need new ways of evaluating and regulating the industry at a large scale. Recirculating Aquaculture Systems (RAS), a land-based aquaculture method, has been proposed as the most sustainable form of aquaculture, and of meat production. I conducted interviews with stakeholders involved in two proposed industrial scale RAS aquaculture facilities located 25 miles apart in eastern Maine. I analyzed the differences between the facilities from a policy perspective to understand why one facility received push back while the other did not. I then analyzed the conflict surrounding the facility receiving push back from a psychological perspective. Through this interdisciplinary approach, I propose a framework for comparing RAS facilities to each other, and to other more traditional facilities. This framework weighs three factors: impact on the environment, the community, and the economy. As this industry grows in the US, it must be done as sustainably as possible. Using this method, communities across the country can evaluate and regulate the growth of this industry over the coming years.

The Project

Here is the policy paper on the issue.

Below is my presentation on the research.

Here is the psychological analysis of the conflict.

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