According to survey, young British men have the most negative perceptions about aquaculture

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They were also among those who knew the least about aquaculture.

According to the Norwegian Institute of Food, Fisheries and Aquaculture Research (Nofima), young British men are not fans of aquaculture.

The survey, part of a consumer study, also asked residents of Italy, Spain, France and Germany. The Brits were also among those who know the least about seafood production.

Negative perceptions
“Young people between the ages of 18 and 34 eat the least fish and have the most negative perceptions about aquaculture. It is, therefore, most interesting for us to reach this target group with more information,” said Pirjo Honkanen, head of research at Nofima.

Last year, 2,500 randomly selected persons from five EU countries received an online survey. Next autumn, again 500 random from each of the five countries will be re-polled to see if information in social media has an effect on the level of knowledge.

“Sustainability is the focus of the entire project. Producers are investing to make seafood production more sustainable, and then the question is whether consumers get this with them and recognize it. It will be very exciting to check whether the knowledge, attention and acceptance of aquaculture increases during this project,” said Pirjo Honkanen.

Mowi’s Loch Leven salmon farm. PHOTO: Owen Evans

Information campaign
The consumer study is part of the FutureEUAqua project, which researches everything from genetics, feed development, process development and packaging, to consumer studies. FutureEUAqua is funded by the EU research programme Horizon 2020, and has a number of research partners from both business and research in Europe.

A sub-goal of the project is to increase knowledge about how seafood production takes place, especially fish farming. The results of the consumer study will therefore be reflected in a campaign aimed at EU citizens. This includes information on conventional and organic fish farming, land-based and integrated multi-trophic aquaculture (IMTA).

“We asked respondents to rank where they would rather have such messages and in what form. Based on the answers we received, we’re going to concentrate our communication around social media and especially on Instagram and Twitter,” said senior researcher Themis Altintzoglou.

Open up, not to sell
During the year, the project will develop campaigns in the form of short films. These are going out on social media in the relevant countries and will lead the public onto an information page on the web.

“Our goal is to open up about the topic and inform, not to sell. On the website, we are presenting easy-to-read and understandable information based on research from the project. In addition, they also have access to more detailed reports. We hope to inspire the consumer to seek more knowledge on the subject,” added Themis.