Technical efficiency and environmental impact of seabream and seabass farms

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Sea cage farming of seabream and seabass is the most important form of aquaculture production in the Mediterranean Sea. Despite the continuous global growth in aquaculture production and demand, the economic performance of seabream and seabass companies has not followed the same trend. In recent years, companies have faced successive periods of market instability, with high volatility in supply and market prices that have strongly affected their operational margins. Despite the regional importance of this industry, only a handful of studies have examined the economic performance of these farms. In this paper, we investigate the technical efficiency and scale effects of Mediterranean aquaculture farms. Furthermore, environmental impact in terms of nutrient emissions from the farms is examined and discussed. Technical efficiency effects are analyzed using Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA), and the bootstrap procedure is used for bias correction. The results show that the mean technical efficiency could be improved by between 16% and 34%, and scale efficiency suggests that farms could improve their efficiency by operating at an optimal scale. Compared to measurements in previous studies, the environmental variables show that the emission of nutrients from the farms per kilo of fish produced has not changed over the past twenty years. Finally, policy implications suggest that more attention toward improving technical efficiency may help improve the robustness of the sector and that environmental regulation might be needed in order to improve the environmental performance of farms.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAquaculture Economics & Management
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)106-125
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 2021

ID: 251024428