With the expected increase in human population and resulting competition for access to land and clean water, there is a growing need to transfer land-based and coastal aquaculture production systems farther offshore to increase the availability of fish and fishery products for human consumption. Mariculture, in particular offshore, offers significant opportunities for sustainable food production and development of many coastal communities, especially in regions where the availability of land, near-shore space and freshwater are limited. A new FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Technical Paper, “A global assessment of potential for offshore mariculture development from a spatial perspective”, provides, for the first time, measures of the status and potential for offshore mariculture development from a spatial perspective that are comprehensive of all maritime countries and comparable among them. It also identifies countries that do not yet practise mariculture but have a high offshore potential.
The underlying purpose of this document is to stimulate interest in detailed assessments of offshore mariculture potential at the national level. An annex examines remote sensing for the sustainable development of offshore mariculture.