Aquaculture is also known as aquafarming or fish farming. Is it the future of food production to meet the growing global seafood demand?
Aquaculture to meet food supply demands
The global lead for The Nature Conservancy’s aquaculture program, Robert Jones, said: “One of the top things we’re doing as an organization is to try to find solutions to feeding 9 billion people on the planet by 2050 in the most sustainable way possible.”
How does aquaculture, or fish farming, work?
Fish farming on land is known as recirculating aquacaulture systems. Jones explained the process: “Basically you are growing fish in tanks on land using advanced filtration technology to filter the waste…The new science on this is showing that water quality impacts beyond 90 meters from [these farms] is generally highly reduced, and some of the most recent studies coming out are showing that there is no measurable impact on water quality around these farms when they’re offshore, which is pretty remarkable.”
The market opportunity for fish farming
According to Fast Company, the global aquaculture sector is growing at a rate of approximately 6% annually and in the United States ninety percent of the current seafood supply is imported. It states that recirculating aquaculture systems and offshore fish farms currently represent less than one percent of all fish production, however, they argue that the price and learning curve for both methods is decreasing.
Jones concludes: “By our calculations, it’s going to take about $150 billion to $300 billion in investments and capital alone to meet the demand for seafood by 2030. This is a very big market opportunity, and a very big opportunity for conservation if we can direct the capital into the more sustainable production systems.”