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BFH-HAFL, ZHAW

Creating a Coordination Centre for Swiss Aquaculture

Report: Aufbau einer Koordinationsstelle für die Schweizer Aquakultur, 1-96, 2020
Rapport: création d’un centre de coordination pour l’aquaculture suisse, 1-97 2021

Swiss aquaculture is enjoying strong growth. However, in order to develop sustainably, the sector needs to be better organised. This study analyses the current situation and proposes a concept for the development of a coordination centre.

Swiss aquaculture is a small sector, but it has been growing strongly in recent years and is diversifying into new production methods. This development has brought uncertainties and challenges along the value chain.

In order to support the Swiss aquaculture sector in a professional manner, the Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO) is considering the creation of a coordination centre. Preliminary investigations have shown that although there is a real interest in such a body, opinions differ as to its tasks, financing and organisation.

Investigations were carried out to assess the current situation of the aquaculture sector. The information gathered was then analysed using various methods to identify the challenges inherent in the development of the sector, and to identify and prioritise the tasks that would fall to a coordination centre. The study concludes with an analysis of various scenarios for the long-term development of the centre (fig. 1), together with an outline of the next steps to be taken and a proposal for financing a phased implementation.

Figure 1. Characteristics of the coordination centre according to the evolution of the aquaculture sector and the support provided by its stakeholders. (Source: Thomas Janssens, BFH-HAFL)

The research shows that the majority of the stakeholders interviewed consider the situation of the Swiss aquaculture sector to be unsatisfactory. The sector has a large number of actors with their own interests who are highly dependent on production factors. In addition, synergies are poorly exploited, information relevant to the sector is not accessible, production, processing and sales activities are very isolated, and there is a lack of knowledge about the planning and operation of facilities. Together with the high price level in Switzerland, these factors lead to high production costs. Finally, due to the lack of customs protection, domestic aquaculture produce generates low margins compared to imported produce.

The situation of Swiss aquaculture should therefore be improved by increasing the professionalisation of the entire sector and reducing production costs. Another option would be to promote the image of the sector and the ‘Swissness’ indication of provenance in order to increase consumers’ willingness to pay.

Conclusions

  • The visibility of the Swiss aquaculture sector must be increased and sustainable growth must be supported, not only in terms of animal welfare and environmental standards, but also in terms of product quality.
  • The centre should coordinate and support existing activities, not take over or replace them.
  • The establishment of a coordination centre can be carried out over a period of two years, initially aiming to reach as wide a range of users as possible and in consultation with existing organisations.
  • The first step is the creation of an information portal that can provide immediate added value to the actors in the sector.

Scientific article

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