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An economic analysis of shellfish production associated with the adoption of integrated multi-trophic aquaculture in British Columbia

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Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA) combines fed aquaculture (finfish) with extractive aquaculture (shellfish and seaweeds) at a single site to recycle nutrient waste while producing marketable seafood products. If finfish monoculture operations adopt IMTA widely, it could result in a significant increase in the production of extractive aquaculture products. The study explores the market implications associated with an increase in shellfish aquaculture production from IMTA adoption by finfish monoculture operations in British Columbia (BC), Canada. The study poses three main research questions: (1) on the supply side, by how much could IMTA shellfish production augment existing shellfish production from BC, (2) on the demand side, how might consumers of BC shellfish view the IMTA concept and value IMTA shellfish products, and (3) what could be the potential market implications of IMTA adoption on the west coast for the BC oyster industry? The study considers the possibility of oyster production associated with IMTA adoption by BC salmon farmers to address these research questions. Results of a production scenario analysis demonstrate that IMTA adoption can augment BC oyster production by between 9% and 237%, depending upon the number of BC salmon farms that adopt IMTA and the production quantity per farm. Results of a consumer intercept survey reveal that consumers of BC oysters in San Francisco have a positive perception of IMTA and the majority of respondents would be willing to pay a premium for IMTA oysters. IMTA oyster production in BC could substantially augment the market supply from BC, requiring a reduction in price to increase the quantity demanded or ways would need to be found to increase demand. New market opportunities could be developed in Asian countries, which require substantial enough volumes of production to be viable.
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