Organic Closed Recirculation Systems For Aquaculture – Ethical Challenges, Legal Context, Political Consequences

Date: 13th June 2018

Time: 3:30-5:30 pm

Venue: Banquet Hall (Großes Sitzungszimmer), University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna


S. Bergleiter, Naturland – Verband für ökologischen Landbau e.V., Germany. 

M. Böhm, S. Meisch, T. Potthast, International Centre for Ethics in the Sciences and Human- ities, University of Tuebingen, Wilhelmstr. 19, 72074 Tuebingen, Germany; 

H. Seibel, Lina Weirup, Carsten Schulz, Gesellschaft für Marine Aquakultur mbH, Buesum, Germany

M. Stark; Seafood Advisory Ltd., Switzerland

L. Voget-Kleschin; Philosophisches Seminar, Philosophie und Ethik der Umwelt, University of Kiel, Kiel, Germany

Corresponding Organizers:

S. Bergleiter 

S. Meisch (

Context and Aims:

EU regulations explicitly preclude closed recirculation systems for aquaculture grow-out from organic certification because they are not close enough to nature (Regulation (EEC) No. 710/2009). Meanwhile, according to other EU regulations, one criteria for organic food production is its contribution to sustainable development (Regulation (EEC) No. 834/2007). Against this background, one might argue that in spite of their distance to nature closed recirculation systems are innovative solutions to deal with sustainability issues in food production. Against this background, the question arises if the organic movement should lobby for an organic certification of closed recirculation systems and why. 

Key Questions:

This workshop will discuss ethical challenges and political consequences that an organic certification will present. 

  • Can closed recirculation systems for aquaculture really contribute to a more sustainable aquaculture production and/or a greater fish welfare?
  • (Why) Do they need to be certificated as organic at all? Would a new label be better? On the other hand, would a new label increase the flood of labels?
  • What does the potential organic certification of closed recirculation systems for aqua- culture mean for the self-conception of the organic movement (closeness to nature vs. innovative organic food production)?
  • How can the concerns of consumers be addressed that might have different expectations from organic food production (closeness to nature)?
  • What are the legal consequences of an organic certification of closed recirculation systems for aquaculture? What are potential spill-overs to other forms of organic food production?

Target Group:

The workshops aims to bring together different ethicists, veterinaries, professionals from aquaculture and food certification, policymakers, and consumer interests. After four short kick-off presentations from an ethicist, veterinary, certifier and policy-maker, participants will discuss the above-mentioned questions.