For global fish availability to meet projected demand, [the World Resources Institute] estimates that aquaculture production will need to more than double by midcentury, rising from 67 million tons (Mt) in 2012 to roughly 140 Mt in 2050. This level of growth could bring about significant food security and development benefits. For example, we estimate it could close roughly 14 percent of the “gap” between global animal protein consumption today and that needed in 2050. In addition, it could boost income and employment, particularly in developing countries where most aquaculture growth will occur.
Fish and shellfish are already among the most eco-friendly sources of animal protein, Waite tells The Salt. They don’t emit anywhere near the amount of greenhouse gases that , and most farmed fish convert feed into edible meat very efficiently. Producing an additional 80 million tons of farmed fish per year by 2050, Waite says, would be much easier on the planet than producing an additional 80 million tons of beef.
Over the past 20 years, fish farms have greatly reduced the amount of fish meal they use in their feed, the report finds. As we’ve noted, a few salmon farms in South Africa are replacing fish meal with to take fish farms’ pressure off the oceans.
We can use less feed if we can get people to eat more seafood that’s lower on the food chain. Tilapia, catfish, carp — as well as mollusks like oysters, scallops and clams — don’t require as much feed.
Four categories of factors that have improved aquaculture’s productivity and environmental performance:
▪ Technological innovation and adoption (in breeding, feeds, production systems, disease control, and environmental management)
▪ Market forces (related to resource scarcity and price signals)
▪ Public policy (regulation and standards; spatial planning and zoning; fiscal incentives; publicly funded
research, extension, and training)
▪ Private initiatives (certification programs, purchasing standards, codes of conduct, research, advocacy,
Fish Farming Technological advances will be needed in four interrelated areas:
▪ Breeding and genetics.
Establish or expand selective breeding efforts—aimed at countries and species with the highest levels of production (e.g., Chinese carps) and at areas of low productivity and high need for aquaculture growth (e.g., in subSaharan Africa)—to promote efficient resource use, reduce problems of disease and escapes, and lower production costs.
▪ Disease control.
Combine new technologies (e.g., diagnostic technologies, vaccines) and wider application of best management practices to combat disease problems.
▪ Nutrition, feeds, and feeding management.
Minimize farmers’ costs and aquaculture waste by increasing feeding efficiencies, and continue to develop alternatives to fish oil in aquaculture feeds.
▪ Low-impact production systems.
Recirculating aquaculture systems, biofloc technology, and integrated systems perform well across most indicators of productivity and environmental performance. Conduct additional research to understand and manage resource tradeoffs, bring down production costs, and develop additional low-impact systems that ease resource constraints
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Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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