What the European Aquaculture sector really needs to innovate sustainably

Posted on: 17/05/2021

Market forces will continue to drive the growth in European aquaculture as the only viable means to meet the demand for an increased fish supply, as capture fishing levels remain over capacity.

Meeting this growing demand in a sustainable way that contributes towards healthy diets, meeting the Sustainable Development Goals and works towards achieving Net Zero is a challenge (Willett et al. 2019). 

With aquaculture growth across Europe (1-3% per annum, FAO 2020) lagging behind the rest of the world and with the challenges mentioned above, there is a clear need for innovation within the European aquaculture industry. 

We identified five innovation areas that will help address the key challenges identified above: 

  •     Technologies to optimise farm management 
  •     Emerging production systems and aquaculture species
  •     Digital marketplace, supply chain solutions, and collaboration platforms
  •     Alternative and sustainable raw materials for fish feed 
  •     Technologies to detect and reduce diseases in hatcheries/farm

 These five areas of innovation were selected after being evaluated against the following criteria: time to market, novelty, market impact, environmental sustainability, societal impact. 

While this is not an exhaustive list of innovation areas, it does provide a selection of relevant innovation opportunities that can contribute to sustainable aquaculture development.

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