The PISCEnLIT project falls within the scope of the global context of aquatic production in which aquaculture has developed to the point of equaling the volume of the production for human consumption of fisheries, which have reached a plateau in production. Aquaculture production, however, comes up against a number of environmental and social problems that call into question its sustainability. The development of aquaculture, particularly fish production, has been identified as necessary to meet the increasing demand for aquatic products.
Indeed, changes in societal expectations for food-production systems require research into new production methods that are more efficient and environmentally friendly. Therefore, these production systems must use fewer inputs (feeds, energy, water) and pollute less (decrease emissions of eutrophying agents, greenhouse gases, xenobiotics).
Also, it is necessary to define the conditions for ecological intensification of aquatic production systems so as to furnish more products while improving the use of mechanisms of aquatic ecosystem ecology. These conditions are determined not only by the production function, which is suitable to optimize, but also by a larger set of ecosystem services that depend upon stakeholder perceptions and their acceptability, thus determining their physical, social, economic, and biological functions within territories.
The study of conditions of ecological intensification of aquacultural systems is addressed here through an interdisciplinary approach that associates the use of environmental analysis tools, innovation economics, and the perceptions of various stakeholders of ecosystem services and scenarios of ecological intensification. Given the extreme diversity of aquatic ecosystems, this study focuses on a continuum of systems of increasing technological level, from “production” pisciculture with few inputs and low production (extensive and semi-extensive ponds) to containment systems of “transformation” with high production and greater use of production factors such as closed circuits.