Ferreira, R.G., Ferreira, J.G., Boogert, F.-J., Corner, R.A., Nunes, J.P., Grant, J., Johansen, J. & Dewey W.F. (2020) A multimetric investor index for aquaculture: application to the European Union and Norway.Aquaculture, 516, 734600. DOI:10.1016/j.aquaculture.2019.734600 (IF2020 4,242; Marine & Freshwater Biology)
An aquaculture investor (AQI) index was developed in order to provide a broad view of the relative attractiveness of 29 different European countries to aquaculture investors. AQI is based on five complementary categories: Market, Production, Regulatory, Environment, and Social, with each category containing four indicators. The attraction of investment into aquaculture depends on the viability of developing aquaculture for each country, and these five categories account for the connectivity in the aquaculture industry. The index benchmarks and tracks countries' progress by producing a quantitative and scalable tool for stakeholders to assess and monitor aquaculture attractiveness, and is designed to rank aquaculture competitiveness for each country. Index scores calculated for Europe range from moderate to good, on a heuristic five-class scale. Countries in Northern Europe with well-established aquaculture sectors score better than countries in Southern Europe. Countries with developing aquaculture sectors tend to score moderately. While high scores within single categories can be achieved, the index rewards countries with high scores across the five categories, to provide a more useful tool for stakeholders. No countries within Europe rank below the middle of the moderate range. The index identifies several countries with high scores that do not have significant aquaculture industries (e.g. Sweden and Finland), and further research is warranted to identify why aquaculture has not been developed. It is expected that as AQI is expanded to lower income countries spanning other geographic regions, countries with lower quality indicator scores will have lower overall scores. The index provides a broad-scale approach across a wide range of categories, and should be interpreted in that context, since it is designed to provide high-level guidance of the general attractiveness for aquaculture in each country. Appropriate due diligence for specific circumstances is warranted by all stakeholders requiring further knowledge to assist decision-making.
To ensure a wide dissemination and maximum visual appeal to both investors and the public, the AQI index was deployed as a smartphone application (AquaInvestor), freely available on the Google Play Store, together with a companion website, and to our knowledge provides the first country-wide comparative assessment of aquaculture potential, available to investors and the general public in eight European languages and Chinese.