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20.1 Introduction

5 months ago

2 min read

Regulatory frameworks can have a decisive influence on the implementation of sustainable technologies. However, there are currently no specific regulations or policies for aquaponics in the European Union (EU) or most of its member states. One of the reasons perhaps is that it falls at the intersection of various larger fields (industrial aquaculture, wastewater recycling, hydroponics, urban aquaculture), wherein producers are subject to a variety of potentially disparate and conflicting regulations. The following chapter provides an overview of the regulatory framework for aquaponics and gives some perspectives on how the development of aquaponics could be supported through EU policy. It builds on the work by Koenig et al. (2018) who have analyzed aquaponics through the theoretical framework for emerging technological innovation systems (see Bergek et al. 2008) and have shown how development pathways for this aquaponics might be influenced by institutional conditions.

The first section provides an overview of specific regulations that govern each step in development of aquaponic enterprises, i.e., construction, operation, and commercialization. It analyzes how this regulatory framework provides incentives or disincentives for individual entrepreneurs and market actors to invest in aquaponics. The second section analyzes how aquaponics fits in with different EU policies and how aquaponics can contribute to achieving EU sustainability goals. It then shows how the policies and strategies need to be redefined in order to provide better opportunities in this sector. In the third section, we draw conclusions from lessons learned in the first sections in order to provide policy recommendations.

Note: The first section summarizes the findings of a legal guideline on the feasibility of aquaponics projects in Germany. Detailed references to German regulations and case law have been left out for better readability. A German version with references to specific provisions and relevant case law is available on request from the authors. Parts of the second sub-chapter have been published in Eco cycles. Reference: Hoevenaars, K., Junge, R., Bardocz, T., and Leskovec, M. 2018. EU policies: New opportunities for aquaponics. Eco cycles 4(1): 10—15. DOI: 10.109040/ecocycles.v4il.87.