Meagre

Argyrosomus regius

Method of production — Farmed
Production country — Europe
Production method — Open net pen
Certification — GlobalGap certified
Picture of Meagre

Sustainability rating three info

Sustainability overview

Updated: November 2019.

European union and Turkey are primary producers of farmed meagre. Meagre are generally farmed in open sea pens and are fed a diet reliant on wild fish capture as a key ingredient. Bream farmed in this way can cause some environmental concerns, including escaped farmed fish and the data surrounding escapes; interactions between escaped and wild fish; use of chemicals, in particular antibiotics and farm level data relating to their use and some remaining concerns surrounding enforcement and regulatory controls. Meagre are carnivorous fish that require more fish in their diet than farming them actually produces, leading to a net loss of marine proteins and oils. The fish used to produce their feed cannot be assured to be sourced from a sustainable supply. GlobalGap certified gilthead seabream addresses some of these problems.

Feed Resources

Criterion Score: -3

The GlobalGAP Aquaculture Standard provides sound guidance to producers with regards to the provenance of feed inputs, however, it’s requirements still leave room for unsustainable/irresponsibly sourced feed inputs. The present iteration of the GlobalGAP Aquaculture Standard leaves the bar relatively low with regards to sustainable feed sourcing in order to allow producers in regions where totally sustainable feed input supply chains are not yet in place. Using the latest available data indicates that this species still has a high requirement of fish oil within its diet, therefore making it a net consumer of fish protein.

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Environmental Impacts

Criterion Score: -2

The requirements of the GlobalGAP Aquaculture Standard do much to mitigate against environmental impacts of production via specific, audited criteria. This include limitations on chemical use and the monitoring of their impacts on water quality and the surrounding environment, escape prevention measures, organic pollution control and disease mitigation and prevention. As with the GAA-BAP and ASC aquaculture standards, this Standard does not prohibit the use of lethal predator control - which is the negative driver pertaining to this section of the assessment

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Fish Health and Welfare

Criterion Score: 1

The GlobalGAP Aquaculture Standard includes criteria that address humane slaughter and animal welfare. This ensures that welfare of fish is achieved and maintained throughout production and that slaughter minimizes stress levels and ensures flesh quality

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Management

Criterion Score:

Allocated Aquaculture Zones are in place or in development in the main producing countries for this species, namely Greece and Turkey. This AZA concept is also incorporated into the EU’s Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) Protocol. The GlobalGap standard criteria address all issues that you would expect to be covered by good country level regulation, and these are deemed to be effective due to the independent audit carried out to confirm compliance.

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Production method

Open net pen

Meagre are farmed in open net pens in the sea. These are floating cages suspended in the sea and held in place by moorings underneath the cages. Water flows through the cages which are made of strong netting that also allow waste to fall through to the sea bed below.

Alternatives

Based on method of production, fish type, and consumer rating: only fish rated 2 and below are included as an alternative in the list below. Click on a name to show the sustainable options available.

Basa, Tra, Catfish or Vietnamese River Cobbler
Cod, Atlantic Cod
Coley, Saithe
Haddock
Hake, European
Monkfish, Anglerfish
Pollock, Alaska, Walleye
Sturgeon (Farmed)
Tilapia

Biology

Argyrosomus regius or meagre is a fish of the Sciaenidae family. It has a similar form to a European seabass, with a pearly-silver coloration and a yellow-coloured mouth. Length can range from 4050 cm to 2 m long, with weights up to 55 kg. Distributed across Eastern Atlantic: Norway to West Africa, including the Mediterranean and western end of Black Sea and Sea of Marmara. Also in lakes of Nile delta and Bitter Lakes to Gulf of Suez; has migrated to the Red Sea via Suez Canal. The biggest fish are found along the coast of West Africa. In Senegal, in the bay of Dakar seems to be the southern limit of the species; big schools of meagre are found around wrecked ships that were sunk to create habitats for several commercial species. Adult meagre stay in deeper water (to 300m) in winter and move inshore in mid-April and enter estuaries to spawn (anadromous migration). During the spawning season, males produce a typical deep sound, by pushing their abdominal muscles against the gas bladder. A 1.2 m female produces about 800 000 eggs, spawning occurs at 17-22 degrees C. Juveniles stay in shallow water and eat small fish and crustaceans . When they reach 30-40 cm, they feed on pelagic fish and cephalopods, the adult diet.

References

FAO. 2019. Fishery and Aquaculture Statistics. Global production by production source 1950-2017 (FishstatJ). In: FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department [online]. Rome. Updated 2019.http://www.fao.org/fishery/statistics/software/fishstatj/en

COUNCIL DIRECTIVE 96/23/EC.1996. Avaialble online at: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:31996L0023&from=EN. Accessed 05/11/2019

HMRC. 2019. HM Revenue & Customs trade statistics. Available online at: www.uktradeinfo.com. Accessed 05/11/2019

GGAP V5.0 (2016) Global Gap Farm Assurance, All Farm Base- Aquaculture Module, Control Points and Compliance Criteria, English Version 5.0, Edition 5.0- 02 July 2016, Obligatory From 01 July 2016

GGAP (2016) Global Gap Compound Feed Manufacturing, General Rules, Addendum to Global Gap General Regulations, English Version 2.2, Valid from 01 August 2016.

Seafood Watch. 2014. Report. European Sea Bass, Gilthead Sea Bream. Mediterranean. Marine Net Pens.

Monfort MC. 2010. Present market situation and prospects of meagre (Argyrosomus regius), as an emerging species in Mediterranean aquaculture. Studies and Reviews. General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean. No. 89. Rome, FAO. 2010. 28p.http://www.fao.org/docrep/013/i1675e/i1675e.pdf

Cardia F, Lovatelli A. 2007. A review of cage aquaculture: Mediterranean Sea, pp. 156-187. In: Cage Aquaculture - Regional Reviews and Global Overview, FAO Fisheries Technical Paper. No. 498 (Halwart, M., Soto, D., and Arthur, J.R. Eds.). Rome: FAO (2007).http://www.fao.org/3/a1290e/a1290e07.pdf

SEP. 2015. Science for Environment Policy (2015) Sustainable Aquaculture. Future Brief 11. Brief produced for the European Commission DG Environment by the Science Communication Unit, UWE, Bristol

PreventEscape.2013.PREVENT ESCAPE Project Compendium (full) - Published on Apr 25, 2013. Available online at: https://issuu.com/oceanografica/docs/prevent_escape. Accessed 05/11/2019

Brown C, Miltiadou D, Tsigenopoulos CS. 2015. Prevalence and survival of escaped European seabass Dicentrarchus labrax in Cyprus identified using genetic markers. Aquaculture Environment Interactions, 7: 49-59.Avaialble online at:https://www.int-res.com/articles/aei2015/7/q007p049.pdf.Accessed 05/11/2019

Sanchez-Jerez P, Karakassis I, Massa F, Fezzardi D, Aguilar-Manjarrez J, Soto D et al. 2016. Aquaculture's struggle for space: the need for coastal spatial planning and the potential benefits of allocated zones for aquaculture (AZAs) to avoid conflict and promote sustainability. Aquaculture Environment Interactions, 8: 41-54. [Cited 24 January 2018.] Available from URL: www.int-res.com/articles/aei2016/8/q008p041.pdf

FAO-GFCM. 2017. GFCM High-level conference towards enhanced cooperation on Black Sea fisheries and aquaculture: A declaration to boost regional cooperation in the sector, 24-25 October 2016, Bucharest, Romania, edited by Abdellah Srour, Fabio Massa, Miguel Bernal, Nicola Ferri, Dominique Bourdenet, Margherita Sessa, Anna Carlson, Julia Pierraccini and Ahmed Siliman. FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Proceedings No. 52. Rome, Italy. http://www.fao.org/3/a-i7109e.pdf

AquaSpace. 2018b. Ecosystem Approach to making Space for Aquaculture EU Horizon 2020 project grant no. 633476, pp. 160-186

FAO-GFCM. 2013. Training Workshop on site selection, allocated zones for aquaculture and site management for coastal marine aquaculture (WGSC-SHoCMed). Available online at: http://gfcmsitestorage.blob.core.windows.net/documents/web/CAQ/WGSC/2013/SHoCMed-Training/InformationNotetraining-workshop-AZAMorocco2013.pdf. Accessed 05/11/2019.

Hilmi N, Allemand D, Kavanagh C, Laffoley D, Metian M, Osborn D, Reynaud S. 2015. Bridging the Gap Between Ocean Acidification Impacts and Economic Valuation: Regional Impacts of Ocean Acidifcation on Fisheries and Aquaculture. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN. 136 pages. Available online at:https://portals.iucn.org/library/sites/library/files/documents/2015-011.pdfAccessed 05/11/2019

Sanchez-Jerez P, Karakassis I, Massa F, Fezzardi D, Aguilar-Manjarrez J, Soto D et al. 2016. Aquaculture's struggle for space: the need for coastal spatial planning and the potential benefits of allocated zones for aquaculture (AZAs) to avoid conflict and promote sustainability. Aquaculture Environment Interactions, 8: 41-54. [Cited 24 January 2018.] Available from URL: www.int-res.com/articles/aei2016/8/q008p041.pdf

EU. 2009b. Protocol on Integrated Coastal Zone Management in the Mediterranean - EU Official Journal L34/19, 4 Feb 2009. Available online at:https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:22009A0204(01)&from=ENAccessed 05/11/2019 "