Re-location of Aquaculture Farms for Sustainable Seafood Provision in Korea’s Coastal Waters under the Accelerated Climate Change

Jae Young Park, Jungho Nam and Jongseo Yim, Korea Maritime Institute, MSP Research Center, Busan, South Korea
Aquaculture has been gaining more role in economic contribution to coastal communities in the Republic of Korea as mariculture production has exceeded fish catch production since the 2010s. In recent years, RO Korean mariculture is challenged by production loss caused by abnormal seawater temperature variation, which is probably driven climate change. The decrease of coastal aquaculture production by 6.8% in summer and 7.9% in winter is implying climate change impact would be more exacerbating aquaculture production loss. The climate-driven production decrease is likely to undermine the local economy and sustainable provision of sea food.

Accordingly, re-location of aquaculture areas in terms of sustainability becomes a challenging issue, along with exploring alternative aquaculture species under acceleration of climate change. To identify most productive aquaculture farms based on the potential, we conducted three-step spatial analysis. First, spatial mapping of the aquaculture potential was carried out by using environmental data such as depth of water, amounts of dissolved oxygen and a chlorophyll-α concentration. Secondly, based on the temperature tolerance range of each fish, all available areas for sustainable aquaculture were identified. Finally, suitable fish-farm area was identified after excluding spaces with navigation and military activities, and compared to current aquaculture farms location acquired from aerial image analysis.

Our research findings are suggesting followings. First, aquaculture potential after re-location of the farms in the study area of RO Korea would exceed current production. Second, indication of aquaculture area with high production potential could contribute to sustainable seafood provision and fishing communities. Lastly, integration of aquaculture potential and spatial analysis is expected to be a useful tool in designing marine use zoning scheme and implementing evidence-based marine spatial planning.