As the demand for seafood has increased, new technologies have made it possible to grow fish and molluscs in inland and marine waters to avoid putting additional pressure on natural ecosystems: this is how the aquaculture sector is born. Aquaculture is the aquatic equivalent of agriculture. At the contrary of wild-caught fish, caught in their natural environment, fish produced by the aquaculture sector are raised and caught in controlled environments, in inland or coastal waters, or in the ocean. In that sense, aquaculture can be used as a method to produce more fish without endangering existing stocks, but also to restore habitat, replenish wild stocks, and rebuild populations of threatened and endangered species.
By 2050, 30% more population which implies an unprecedented challenge: food systems need to substantially increase the production of safe and nutritious food, while reducing the pressure on environmental resources. The European aquaculture sector has become increasingly important in this context. However, the sector still needs to complete the following objectives to answer tomorrow’s challenges:
- Use sustainable fish feeds
- Increase organic aquaculture production
- Improve available technologies and production systems to increase efficiency
- Increase robustness (disease resistance) and quality of fish and molluscs
- Use fewer chemicals and antibiotics
- Support the diversification of fish species and products