The Environmental Office, the Fisheries Office, fish farmers and, where necessary, Åland’s environmental and health protection authority (ÅMHM) have negotiated together continuously for years. The negotiations have increased understanding and coordination in several issues and produced information for decision-making. Other results include the development of the implementation plan for aquaculture and the implementation of the Aquabest project aiming at sustainable aquaculture.
Within Aquabest, legislation and the application of environmental permits for aquaculture in Åland have been evaluated. The Aquaculture Strategy developed for aquaculture in Åland proposes several different approaches for its incentive-based adaptation. The strategy covers the period 2014–2020. The Aquaculture Strategy states that the Government of Åland finds that aquaculture should be allowed to increase in Åland within ecologically sustainable limits.
It is to be hoped that the negotiations will continue during the next planning period, i.e. 2016–2021.
The cooperation group should address the following issues:
• New innovative measures to promote sustainable aquaculture, such as new techniques, feed development and measures to increase the use of low-phosphorus feed, must be discussed.
• The objectives of the implementation plan for aquaculture adopted in 2011 will be revised. Documentation for this will be prepared by the cooperation group and this will create a new realistic basis for decision-making.
• In the context of the work on amendments to the water legislation, the current provisions on quality standards and the so-called ceilings or stopping rules will be revised. In the same context, conditions for new or revised activities that have an impact on waters will be clarified. These include fish farming. At the same time, opportunities offered by compensation measures and improvement surplus (förbättringsöverskott) and possibilities to locate fish farms in more suitable areas will be clarified. In this work relating to legislation, the judgement of the EU court in case C-461/13 will be respected. It states that member states are required to refuse authorisation for an individual project where it may cause a deterioration of the status of a body of surface water or where it jeopardises the attainment of good surface water status.