Realising Aquaculture’s Untapped Growth Potential
By 2050 the global population today is anticipated to rise by another 2 billion to 9.8 billion people. The rising demand for protein is going to be a significant challenge for food production systems, though a recent study in Nature suggests that growth in aquaculture can help contribute to this growing societal need.
Seafood represents only 17% (around 155 million tonnes) of the current production of edible meat, however by 2050 this could be increased further by 21 – 44 million tonnes, with the most pronounced uplift predicted for marine finfish and bivalve aquaculture production. Max Mossler at the University of Washington has provided a great explainer of the science behind the Nature paper, and I encourage you to read his blog here.
A key conclusion of the study is that this potential growth in aquaculture won’t be realised without policy reforms, technological innovation and shifts in demand to provide the market incentives for investment.
Current barriers to the sustainable growth in aquaculture include lax regulations in some regions, resulting in poor environmental stewardship, disease and even collapse. In other regions, regulations are overly restrictive, convoluted and poorly defined, and thus limit production. Another requirement for aquaculture growth is finding alternative feed ingredients and ensuring that existing forage fisheries used in aquaculture feeds are from well managed and sustainable fisheries.
Coordinated Local Area Management Systems (CLAMS) provides a platform for improvements in biosecurity and fish health management bringing benefits to all fish farmers using the same water body. This leading RS Standards initiative can help producers engage with regulators to overcome some of these current constraints to aquaculture growth.
CLAMS provides an innovative tool and platform allowing producers to collaborate with one another and coordinate their activities in a way that achieves shared goals, e.g. disease control, water quality monitoring and zonation of activities. This also provides an assurance / risk mitigation mechanism for investors and insurance providers.