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The rising tide of aquaculture

Limestone mountains and fishing boats in Thailand

"We must plant the sea and herd its animals using the sea as farmers instead of hunters. That is what civilization is all about - farming replacing hunting."

Jacques Yves Cousteau

The challenge of feeding the growing population

By 2050 our world will be home to 10 billion people. To keep up with the growing population, food production will need to increase by 70%. As developing markets begin to integrate a new middle class, the demand for meat rises dramatically. Large land mammals like cattle require huge amounts of water and agricultural land to graze and grow feed. Fish and seafood offer much more efficient conversion ratios.

Amount of water and feed needed to produce 1 pound of beef, pork, chicken and fish

The demand for seafood is rising

Seafood already makes up 17% of the protein in people’s diets around the world, and that number continues to grow. Seafood consumption per capita has doubled since the 1960’s and shows no signs of slowing down.

Eating seafood isn’t just good for our planet, it’s good for us. Fish contains many essential nutrients and omega-3 fatty acids that aren’t present in other meats. Favouring more sustainable protein sources can not only reduce the environmental footprint of our food producing industries, but also have a positive and lasting impact on public health.

World per capita meat consumption, as of 2015

We can’t just keep fishing

Traditional fishing methods can’t keep up with demand. Our oceans have already been depleted, and our current capture fishing regime simply isn't sustainable. Mankind must be self-sufficient when it comes to producing the food we need to feed ourselves. We can’t keep extracting natural resources at a rate that exceeds their capacity to replenish. As both the world’s population and appetite for seafood grow, the only way to meet demand is through sustainable farming.

Fishing boats docked

Aquaculture is the solution

Aquaculture is an ancient practice that was first developed in China in 3500 BC. But until the modern age, it has only provided a small supplement to wild capture. In the past 50 years, the aquaculture industry has truly skyrocketed. Now aquaculture supplies more than half of the seafood consumed worldwide. More farmed seafood is consumed than beef, and aquaculture production keeps growing at 6% per year.

The evolution of aquaculture versus wild capture production in million tonnes worldwide
A shrimp farmer sitting at the edge of a bridge to assess visually the amount of feed the shrimp ate

Aquaculture technology is stuck in the past

As the industry continues to grow, technology has not kept pace. Antiquated practices such as manual sampling, visual inspection and non-digital records remain widespread, and survival rates continue to hover around 50% for a typical shrimp farmer. Without modern tools to help the industry thrive, aquaculture's potential is being held back.

Leading the Blue Revolution

While plant and livestock agriculture have seen a veritable AgTech revolution, most aquaculture remains very low tech. Modern measurement technologies and operational intelligence software can provide the insight required to reduce losses, increase yields and help solve the impending food shortage in an innovative and sustainable way.

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