Whitefish is well-known for its delicious meat and consumers are willing to pay high prices for it, but local supply is often limited due to fluctuating or declining catches. It is thus expected that whitefish aquaculture production should increase to help meet the demand, provided that insufficient knowledge or other roadblocks do not interfere. Here we use a literature review, expert interviews, and case-study approach to understand the existing knowledge, current production levels, and limitations of whitefish aquaculture in individual countries. As shown through the literature review, there is sufficient technical knowledge to scale-up whitefish production. However, interviews with several experts point out different factors hindering aquaculture production: strict environmental regulations, established production of other freshwater species, and possible competition with fish imports. The failure to establish whitefish aquaculture in Lake Constance underlines this outcome, as there is nearly no chance to establish whitefish aquaculture in this area despite very high demand paired with drastically decreasing supply from capture-fisheries. As a result, at least 50% of whitefish consumed at Lake Constance are imported. This case highlights a common pitfall in environmental management: decisions to forego or reduce local production often results in replacing a product of exceptionally high sustainability (locally produced fish) with imports from other countries.
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Vol. 58 • No. 4-6