Assessment of aquaculture practices
Result of Service
The ultimate result of this assignment is to provide MED POL and the Contracting Parties with a solid evidence on the state of play of current aquaculture practices and discharged pollutants reaching the Mediterranean on the basis of which the Contracting Parties will negotiate the content and measures of the new “Regional Plan on Aquaculture Management” to be developed in 2022/2023 biennium.
Expected duration of the contract is two months (44 days) spread over eight (8) months from the time of signing of the consulting agreement.
Duties and Responsibilities
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the United Nations system's designated entity for addressing environmental issues at the global and regional levels. Its mandate is to coordinate the development of environmental policy consensus by keeping the global environment under review and bringing emerging issues to the attention of governments and the international community for action. United Nation’s Environment Ecosystems Division works with international and national partners, providing technical assistance and advisory services for the implementation of environmental policy, and strengthening the environmental management capacity of developing countries and countries with economies in transition. This consultancy assignment is for the Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP)/Programme for the Assessment and Control of Marine Pollution in the Mediterranean
(MED POL), Athens, Greece.
During the MED POL Focal Points Meeting, held in Rome, Italy in May 2017, a review of a “list of potential new/updated measures” under Article 15 of the Protocol for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea against Pollution from Land-Based Sources and Activities (LBS Protocol) of the Barcelona Convention was undertaken. Accordingly, a priority clustering of new measures under six potential categories was approved. The six categories are (1) urban wastewater treatment; (2) sewage sludge, (3) agriculture nutrients, (4) aquaculture nutrients, (5) stormwater, and (6) marine litter management.
The 21st Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the Barcelona Convention COP21 (Napoli, Italy, 2-5 December 2019) adopted Decision IG.24/10 which endorsed the main elements for development/ update of six new Regional Plans related to the six aforementioned categories. COP21 also approved the way forward proposing the time frame for the development, negotiation and adoption of the six Regional Plans. With regard to the Regional Plan on Aquaculture Management, the Meeting approved submission of the new Regional Plan to COP 23 (December 2023). In preparation for the development of this Regional Plan, the Programme of Work (PoW) and Budget for the biennium 2020-2021, which was adopted in Decision IG.24/14, mandated MED POL in Activity 220.127.116.11(c) to undertake an “assessment of status and impacts of agriculture nutrients, contaminants, aquaculture, and state of play of urban storm water on the marine environment prepared using to the extent possible existing information.”
To this aim, there is a need to recruit a regional consultant to undertake an assessment of the state of play of aquaculture practices in the Mediterranean; evaluate the current and possible level of implementation of potential measures of the future Regional Plan as outlined in the Main elements document adopted by COP21; and recommend, as appropriate, additional measures required to minimise pollution from aquaculture facilities and promote environmentally friendly practices in coastal areas.
The Consultant will work under the direct supervision of the MED POL Programme Officer (Pollution), under the guidance of the MED POL Programme Management Officer (head of unit). The consultant is expected to perform the following tasks:
1. Prepare a detailed work plan for performance of the following tasks accompanied with a timetable for completion.
2. Undertake a review of: (i) the “main elements of the Regional Plan on Aquaculture Management” included in the Annex to this term of reference; and (ii) existing work undertaken by the Contracting Parties and relevant Regional Organizations. Further to this review, propose an outline with specific annotations for assessing the state of play of aquaculture facilities and current practice in the Mediterranean and their impacts on the marine environment. Outline for the assessment report to consider aspects related to, but not limited to, the following significant aspects:
a) Pollutants and contaminants discharged from onshore and offshore aquaculture facilities.
b) Commonly applied practices in the aquaculture sector.
c) The regulatory framework and institutional measures in the Mediterranean with regard to the aspects of this assessment.
d) Existing BAT and BEP in the aquaculture sector.
Provide a list of references on existing work undertaken by the Contracting Parties and relevant Regional Organizations for this purpose.
3. Further to a consultation process with UNEP/MAP-MED POL, and in line with the agreed annotated outline, undertake an assessment of the impacts of significant aspects of the aquaculture sector on the Mediterranean marine environment with a focus on, but not limited to, the following specific issues emanating from the aforementioned significant aspects in task (2):
a) With regards to pollutants and contaminants discharged from onshore and offshore aquaculture facilities, consider aspects related to, but not limited to, feeding and fish excreta, cleaning of cages and from use of antibiotics.
b) Concerning commonly applied practices in onshore aquaculture facilities (including hatcheries), consider aspects related to, but not limited to:
i. Commonly applied feeding practices.
ii. Typical operational aspects for onshore aquaculture facilities (e.g. installation of settlement tanks and drum filters, etc.)
iii. Discharge systems for effluent water; treatment of nutrients, reuse/recycling of treated water, waste management, feed sacks, medicines/antibiotics, and other consumables.
c) With regard to commonly applied practices in offshore aquaculture facilities, consider aspects related to, but not limited to:
i. Commonly applied feeding practices.
ii. Typical operational aspects for onshore aquaculture facilities (e.g. selection of cages locations and their specifications, management and cleaning of cages, etc.)
iii. Control escapes installed to prevent harmful aquatic organisms, antifouling agents, movement of cases, etc.
iv. Discharge systems for effluent water; treatment of nutrients, waste management, feed sacks, nets, medicines/antibiotics, and other consumables.
d) In relation to legal and institutional measures in place for regulating the onshore aquaculture sector, consider aspects related to, but not limited to:
i. Existing monitoring programmes for measurement of discharged pollutants.
ii. Regulatory measures such as permitting conditions for onshore aquaculture facilities including compliance monitoring and enforcement.
iii. Aspects related to Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM).
e) Concerning legal and institutional measures in place for regulating the offshore aquaculture sector, consider aspects related to, but not limited to:
i. Regular monitoring of pollutants in sediments and the water column.
ii. Regulatory measures such as permitting conditions based on established criteria, and marine spatial planning, compliance monitoring and enforcement.
f) Finally, with regard to currently applied Best Available Techniques (BAT) and Best Environmental Practices (BEP) in the aquaculture sector in the Mediterranean, assess the ensuing impacts of, but not limited to:
i. Benthic and nutrients input to the marine environment as a result of feeding practices and related operational aspects of aquaculture facilities.
ii. Recirculating closed systems and reusing/recycling water for irrigation purposes in onshore aquaculture.
iii. Using environmentally benign antifouling agents for cleaning of cages.
iv. Preventing escapees and Invasive Alien Species (IAS).
v. Reusing fish offal as fertilizer and disposal.
4. Based on the assessment findings of the significant aspects addressed in task (3), and in line with the endorsed proposed measures foreseen for the Regional Plan on Aquaculture Management, evaluate current level of implementation (or non-implementation) of the proposed measures by the Mediterranean Countries with a focus on those with significant adverse impacts on the Mediterranean marine environment.
5. Based on the assessment findings of the impacts of significant aspects addressed in task (3), recommend additional measures, as appropriate, supported by a list of technical specifications to be addressed in the Regional Plan complementing those identified in the evaluation findings in task (4), with the aim to further reduce inputs of pollutants and contaminants to the Mediterranean marine environment.
6. Provide technical support to MED POL in terms of presentations and reports for submission to the experts and MED POL Focal Points meetings planned in April and May 2021.
7. Prepare the assessment report reflecting comments received from the Meeting(s), accompanied by a final report of deliverables of the consultancy including on methodology for performance of tasks.
Advanced university degree in biology, marine biology, marine sciences or related field is required
• A minimum of 5 years of relevant professional experience in the aquaculture sector, with a focus on pollution issues related to nutrients and their impacts on the marine environment, is required;
• Knowledge of the onshore and offshore aquaculture sectors in the Mediterranean, is required;
• Excellent writing skills in English are required;
• Knowledge of French is an asset
Knowledge of the UNEP/MAP and of the relevant programmes of measures/ regional plans with related working experience is an asset;