As the world population continues to grow, the resources around the world proceed to shrink. By 2050, experts are expecting the world’s population to reach 9.7 billion. With this increase, food production will need to keep pace while also taking into consideration the already starving countries. Thus, experts are looking toward the ocean and other blue spaces as a solution to this problem.
Fish farming, also known as aquaculture, is, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization, considered as one of the fastest-growing food-production sectors around the globe. In 2018 alone, the sector broke records while producing 114.5 million tonnes of goods. Moreover, fish farming has been the main source of fish available for human consumption since 2016.
Furthermore, experts are expecting not only the growth of this sector but also its domination of the seafood market in the coming years. The FAO has also stated that if managed sustainably, aquaculture can have a transformational impact on the way we feed the global population.
Developing a blue economy
The UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean, Peter Thomson, believes that the ocean can be one of the major keys to end world hunger. The potential of the sustainable blue economy (the development of oceanic economic activities in an integrated and sustainable way) to feed the world is immense. Never forget that the Ocean covers 70 percent of the planet’s surface and that well over 90 percent of the planet’s living space is below the Ocean’s surface.”
“Through the development of new forms of sustainable aquaculture with appropriate species and feeds, mariculture (the farming of organisms in marine environments), shellfish farming, and much greater attention to macroalgae (seaweed) for human and animal food, the Ocean will provide us with a large proportion of the nutritious food we need.”
The Benefits of Aquaculture
Aquaculture can prove to be a great source of nutrition for several reasons. Fish is not only a great source of protein, but it also contains essential minerals including potassium, zinc, iodine, and magnesium. Additionally, they are rich in phosphorus and calcium.
Furthermore, Studies prove that fish farming has the potential to produce 16.5 billion tons of fish per year. An amount huge enough to feed the growing population while meeting nutritional needs.
Environmental obstacles and challenges
The chairperson of the United Nations Global Compact Local Network for Norway and executive at salmon farming company Cermaq, Wenche Grønbrekk, declares that given the right conditions, the amount of seafood can increase six-fold. Though not without experiencing many persisting challenges.
Despite all the development in aquaculture, the methods still resulted in many harmful environmental outcomes, such as the destruction of marine habitats, the use of harmful chemicals and veterinary drugs, and the production of waste.
“The farmed fish industry is still relatively young and, despite the bad reputation it has had, it has developed a lot. Today, it has a strong focus on sustainability, and salmon farming, for example, is the most technologically advanced form of aquaculture. I’ve been encouraged to see that there is a real will to lift standards in the industry and an understanding that, by working together on sustainable development issues, we will all benefit.”
Martin Exel, the managing director of SeaBOS, also agrees with the provided points. He acknowledges the industry’s past wrongdoings while also being confident that the industry is moving in the right direction. The fact is that aquaculture is the best way to help feed some 10 billion people in the coming years”, says Mr. Exel. “It can be scaled up in a healthy and sustainable way, which is why our members are working closely with scientists to advance the technology that will ensure that we can effectively solve the food production challenges that we are all facing.”
A deep dive into Zero Hunger: farming the seas. (n.d.). Lebanon News. Retrieved November 18, 2020, from https://www.lebanonnews.net/news/266985152/a-deep-dive-into-zero-hunger-farming-the-seasA deep dive into Zero Hunger: farming the seas. (2020, November 18). UN News. https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/11/1077342#:%7E:text=FAO%20is%20helping%20to%20create,female%20clam%20collectors%20in%20Tunisia.&text=With%20the%20world%20population%20expected,of%20the%20sustenance%20we%20need.Folk, E. (2020, July 31). Is Aquaculture the Answer to World Hunger? BioEnergy Consult. https://www.bioenergyconsult.com/aquaculture/