The demand for seafood is rising globally. The global seafood market was anticipated to be worth US$116.8 billion in 2022 but is expected to increase to US$134 billion by 2026 at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 2.9%, according to the "Seafood - Global Market Trajectory & Analytics" 2022 study.
Although the US has historically been a significant seafood consumer, the research claims that the increase in per capita fish consumption in nations like China, India, and many Asian countries is responsible for the increase in seafood volume. By 2030, emerging nations will likely consume more fish than any other region, at a rate of more than 80%.
What does this indicate for the world's seafood output, particularly in light of the difficulties many areas are currently experiencing about habitat concerns, illegal and overfishing, and ecological stress? Many issues with global food demand and sustainability that face businesses, governments, and non-governmental organizations may have solutions in aquaculture.
We developed a list of the top benefits of aquaculture to help you better understand the advantages of aquaculture.
One of the benefits of aquaculture is that major seafood purchasers, such as restaurant chains, retailers, and institutional food services, have committed heavily to purchasing and selling seafood produced to remain competitive and achieve their objectives for environmental and social impact. Over 90% of U.S. merchants and 75% of EU retailers have pledged to acquire and sell sustainable seafood. Many are devoted to being open about their pledges and solution roadmaps.
Aquaculture is responsible for around 52% of the fish consumed globally. Nonetheless, it is predicted that by 2030, aquaculture will provide more than 60% of the fish used for human consumption. The global aquaculture industry is predicted to reach $50.38 billion in 2026 at a CAGR of 7.7%, according to the Global Aquaculture Market Report 2022. As a result, one benefit of aquaculture is that it is a developing business that has the potential to generate economic growth through fostering trade, employment, and local and regional development.
According to health experts, one of the most nutrient-dense and beneficial sources of protein is fish.
It is loaded with essential nutrients that most people lack, including vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for a healthy body and brain function and have been directly linked to a lower risk of developing some ailments.
One of the numerous benefits of aquaculture is that it may increase local supply and supply for international markets, giving people more access to fish and shellfish. It might lessen world hunger and enhance the health and well-being of the planet's expanding populace.
Chicken, hog, and beef are all traditionally produced via land-based agriculture, which is quite resource-intensive. Seventy-five percent of the world's livable land is dedicated to producing animal protein sources, which consume a sizable portion of the freshwater supply.
Although the environmental effects of aquaculture might vary greatly depending on the area, there are still several advantages compared to other types of animal rearing. Marine aquaculture operations are generally thought to be more effective at turning feed into protein for human consumption and need fewer resources, including less water and land.
To assist you in comprehending the disadvantages of aquaculture, we came up with a list of its top drawbacks.
Aquaculture has unique environmental problems, such as damaging crucial ecosystems and habitats, using dangerous pesticides and antibiotics, relying too much on wild-caught fish and other non-sustainable materials in feed, and more.
Yet, the species being farmed, the level of output, and the farm's location all significantly influence the ecosystem. These effects are undoubtedly seen as some of aquaculture's drawbacks, yet, new tactics and technology have developed recently to approach aquaculture with the aim of sustainability.
There is a greater danger of human rights abuses and unfair labor practices in the aquaculture sector because of the frequently inadequate government regulation and transparent supplier networks. Social disputes between land users and aquaculture producers have emerged over water supply in several parts of the world.
However, there is still much to be done regarding working conditions, and pay, including women's labor and roles greater access to innovation and technology, resources, and financial assistance for more equal and comprehensive data gathering and representation engagement. As was mentioned above, more women are participating in aquaculture, which is undoubtedly a positive advancement.
Aquaculture supply networks include many middlemen and are opaque and complicated. As a result, seafood purchasers have found it difficult to guarantee that they are buying fish from sustainable sources.
During the past 20 years, many stakeholders have taken advantage of export markets and put much effort, time, and money into developing third-party certification and rating systems. Certified farmed fish and shellfish are confined largely to a few species and nations, and they only account for roughly 8% of worldwide aquaculture production.
Moreover, agricultural audits and certification procedures frequently fail to find human rights violations or solve social problems. Perhaps the difficulty of certification isn't one of the many drawbacks that prevent aquaculture from being widely used, but it is a significant issue that requires careful problem-solving.
For small-scale farmers, certification programs have failed to scale up environmental and social betterment projects. Current initiatives are more appropriate for consolidated, large-scale aquaculture sectors like farmed salmon than for sectors like prawns that rely on output in tiny ponds.
There aren't many incentives for farmers to increase the sustainability of their farms under the present certification programs.
Undoubtedly, aquaculture may be more important in solving the issues with global food demand and sustainability that businesses, governments, and non-governmental organizations face.
Aquaculture, which is often divided into marine and freshwater, is the breeding, raising, and harvesting of fish, shellfish, algae, and other organisms in all kinds of aquatic habitats. Regarding the former, new methods, creativity, and technology have made it feasible to repurpose environments for young stock, open ocean, coastal marine waters, and even onshore for growing food.
Farm-raised seafood has the potential to significantly contribute to feeding the world's expanding population while also improving the lives of farmers and their families. Aquaculture, when practiced responsibly, may help achieve various environmental and social impact objectives, including relieving stress on overfished and stressed oceans. Aquaculture, however, is not without its problems. Although with its rapid expansion, the aquaculture sector still confronts many significant obstacles.
With the rising need for commercial fish products, aquaculture will remain popular in many nations. Although this business has shortcomings, there have also been advancements to ease the worries that aquaculture has raised.
If practiced properly, aquaculture may enhance food production, stimulate rural and coastal economies, and maintain clean waterways.
Nutrient and effluent build-ups, the negative effects of fish farms on nearby wild fisheries owing to illness and escape, and environmental damage due to the site's location were common criticisms.
The salinization/acidification of soils and aquifers and the risk of water-borne illnesses like schistosomiasis to agricultural workers' health are examples of environmental consequences. Moreover, fish and pond sediments may get contaminated with heavy metals from cattle feeds in integrated aquaculture.