The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) informed that after a two-year delay, Singapore has kick-started a project to farm seafood around Pulau Bukom. The aim is to bolster the local seafood supply by a staggering 3,465 tonnes annually. This significant yield accounts for nearly 80% of the current locally produced seafood.
SFA has opened bids for two 5-hectare lots in the open sea for this aquaculture venture, "underlining the critical role of technology, innovation, and sustainable practices in the face of limited sea space and climate change threats."
One of the main reasons was the concerns about potential adverse impacts on coral reefs and recreational areas due to farming in the vicinity of Pulau Satumu, Pulau Jong.
Consequently, in 2022, the SFA put on hold the project pending further investigations. Now, the decision has been made to move forward with Pulau Bukom, "which is less rich in corals and doesn’t serve as a key biodiversity area."
According to SFA, the Pulau Bukom site will be the first to showcase Singapore’s closed containment aquaculture system, "a pioneering approach to minimize pollution and safeguard marine biodiversity. This system works by effectively containing waste and excess feed, thereby curbing their harmful impact on the marine environment."
This initiative is in line with Singapore’s ambitious 30 by 30 goal to produce 30% of its nutritional needs locally by 2030. Seafood forms a significant part of this vision due to the feasibility of farming it within the confines of the island-state.
As the aquaculture industry grows, it is viewed as a promising solution to ensure a consistent seafood supply while alleviating pressure on natural ecosystems. Yet, it also grapples with issues such as disease outbreaks, habitat degradation, and inefficient resource utilization.
The industry is shaping its future sustainability through policies and platforms, emphasizing the accurate measurement, monitoring, and data reporting. Technological advances are transforming the sector, improving efficiency, and contributing to sustainability goals. The rising demand for sustainably produced seafood drives the industry towards transparency measures and consumer education initiatives.