May 15, 2023
New report finds regenerative aquaculture crucial to meet growing demand
A recent study warned that the aquaculture industry must embrace regenerative aquaculture to bridge a projected 50 million tonne supply gap by 2050 and meet the increasing demands of consumers, The Fish Site reported.
The report, published by non-profit financial think tank Planet Tracker, highlights that even in the most optimistic scenario of improving current aquaculture practices, a significant supply gap would persist by 2050.
According to analysis conducted by Planet Tracker, while technological solutions such as offshore or land-based farming and lab-grown fish could contribute up to 5 million tonnes of seafood by 2050, the adoption of regenerative aquaculture practices could generate an additional 45 million tonnes of seafood, effectively addressing the growing demand.
Regenerative aquaculture involves sustainable production methods that benefit ecosystems, such as water filtration by bivalves (oysters, mussels, and clams) or carbon sequestration by seaweed.
But the report, titled "Avoiding Aquafailure: aquaculture diversification and regeneration are needed to feed the world," highlights a significant financial hurdle, estimating that a minimum of US$55 billion in capital expenditure is required to finance this transition. Most aquaculture companies currently lack the necessary resources for such an investment.
The report emphasises that maintaining a business-as-usual approach with concentrated fish monocultures would result in biodiversity risks, including nutrient pollution and displacement of native species, leading to financial losses for the industry.
Recent research reveals an increasingly concentrated industry, with the top ten seafood-producing countries accounting for 89% of total seafood production. Additionally, over 75% of listed aquaculture companies focus on salmon, shrimp, or pangasius farming.
The report calls for investors and lenders to support the regenerative transition in aquaculture by recognising the escalating risks associated with a business-as-usual scenario, demanding improved disclosure and transparency from companies to quantify and mitigate these risks better, supporting diversification of species and geographic distribution, endorsing technology that enables environmentally sound offshore, recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS), and cultivated seafood, and providing financial backing for regenerative aquaculture investments through sustainability-linked bonds and affordable capital for sustainable expansion.
- The Fish Site