Date of Award
Master of Arts in Marine Affairs
Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA) has been proposed as a potential strategy to reduce negative impacts of traditional monoculture and improve the domestic seafood trade market in the US. Views from the aquaculture industry on incentives for IMTA adoption and continuation are crucial for understanding the likelihood of IMTA reaching a commercial scale; however, studies on aquaculturists’ perceptions of IMTA are limited.
The objectives of this study are: 1) to explore different methods of IMTA being used in the US by aquaculturists; 2) to determine how US aquaculturists’ perceptions of IMTA affect the adoption and continuation of IMTA; and 3) to identify perceived economic, environmental, and social considerations that mediate commercialization of IMTA in the US. This qualitative study used semi-structured interviews to explore perceptions of eight US aquaculturists in Maine, Connecticut, and Washington state who have been introduced to and involved in IMTA pilot projects or research. All of the interviews were coded using NVivo 10 qualitative analysis software to identify and organize key themes in the data.
Respondents identified perceived economic benefits as the major driving force for their initial adoption of IMTA; however, based on the interviews in this study, IMTA did not offer adequate financial returns for the majority of aquaculturists to continue using the method. Only two aquaculturists out of eight continued (or plan to continue) using IMTA after the initial trial period. In addition, respondents identified more economic considerations than environmental or social considerations. Product diversification was mentioned by the greatest number of respondents, and was considered a very promising aspect of IMTA. Furthermore, findings indicate that the use of IMTA as a marketing strategy to reach not only more, but also higher paying, customers might not be effective because there is no policy on the distinct requirements necessary to identify an IMTA facility. Findings from this study can be used to inform efforts to more effectively engage aquaculturists in IMTA.
Kinney, Heather, "Aquaculturists' Perceptions of Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA)" (2017). Open Access Master's Theses. Paper 1024.