European Commission
Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union
TOBE 2014 – 3rd BioEconomy Stakeholders' Conference

BioEconomy Stakeholders' Conference

"From sectors to system, from concept to reality"

Martin Scholten

Martin Scholten
General Manager - Wageningen University and Research Centre

Dr. Martin.C.Th. Scholten (55) is a biologist, member of the board of directors of Wageningen University and Research Centre (Wageningen UR), responsible for the marine institute IMARES and for the Animal Sciences Group (including Livestock Research institute and Central Veterinary Institute).

He works for Wageningen UR since 2002, first as director of the former Netherlands Institute for Fisheries Research (RIVO) and since 2006 as founder/director of the integrated marine institute IMARES. In the period 1986 – 2002 he worked for he applied research organization TNO as director of the Applied Marine Laboratory. He studied biology at the Free University Amsterdam (VU), where he graduated cum laude in 1984. In 2004 he earned his PhD at this university.

As an ecologist now active in the field of food production, he introduced the principles of “Feeding the world within the capacity of planet earth”; “Seafood security” and “Livestock Farming with Care”.

He has a broad experience in the marine domain, including fisheries, aquaculture and offshore & maritime industries. He was president of EFARO (European association of Fisheries & Aquaculture Research Organisations) in 2004 – 2010. Now he is chairman of the section “Aquaculture” of that organisation. He was the Netherlands delegate in ICES (Int. Council for Exploration of the Sea) in 2006 – 2013, and vice president of ICES in 2007 – 2010. He was chairmen of a U.N. working group on “Environmental Practices in Offshore Oil and Gas Industry” in 1992 – 1994.

He is also co-chairman of Global Research Alliance (GRA) on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases since 2010, and chairman of the European livestock research alliance Animal Task Force (ATF: including Aquaculture) since 2012. He has many other Board responsibilities in Livestock related consortia.



Exploring the potentials to feed the world by Ocean Farming
Yield gap management of marine productivity in perspective of a marine biobased economy

Marine productivity is crucial for the great challenge to feed the world within the carrying capacity of planet earth, in addition to the land based agricultural food production. Seafood provides a major source of essential (S-rich) proteins, omega-3 fatty acids (such as EPA, DHA, ARA) and micronutrients (such as vitamin A, Se) to secure a sustainable nutrition of mankind in the near future.
Around 70% of the world surface is water, whilst only 17% of the animal proteins consumed originates from fisheries and aquaculture. Moreover, the efficiency of capturing sun energy into food is almost twice as high in aquatic food chains compared to land based food chains, and marine productivity will not be hampered by limited access to phosphate as on land. In addition, marine seaweed can be a high value resource for the biobased industries to produce fine chemicals or renewable energy.
For the same reason marine biodiversity is crucial in the ecological functioning of planet earth, and an increase of marine production for the biobased economy should not lead to a loss of marine biodiversity, as what have been seen due to overexploiting fisheries and intensive, seafeed based aquacultures.
In land based agriculture, possibilities for sustainable increase of the food production capacity has been explored by yield gap analysis to identify smart solutions for a better use of the natural potential for food production. This approach has so far not been used for ocean production. It is expected that capture fisheries and aquaculture is not optimally governed to use the immense ocean productivity in a smart manner saving marine biodiversity.
Maximum Sustainable Yields from an individual stock management perspective is not filling the Maximum Sustainable Yield from an ecosystem based ocean management and nutrient security perspective. The carrying capacity for cultivated fish production in intensive, hotspot confined systems is limited. Yield gap management opens up new perspectives for novel ocean farming approaches. The quintessence of the Farm the Sea concept is to foster marine biomass production by promoting natural processes using passive and selective harvesting methods;
Ocean farming based on ecosystem based marine productivity management requires a breakthrough in the political perception of seafood harvesting and new governance models for global ocean management. But it also requires an innovative and responsible (i.e. a triple P) attitude of the private sector active in the seafood supply chain. It is foreseen that the 21st century will experience a blue revolution in food production, comparable to the green revolution in the 20th century.
It will be recommended to establish a round table on ocean nutrition security and marine productivity management to further develop and implement the proposed conceptual framework.