Aquaculture shapes the future of aquatic foods, was FAO’s core message when launching the 2022 edition of the State of the World Fisheries and Aquaculture report, a flagship publication which started in 1995. But how should the twin challenges of food security and environmental sustainability be tackled, while ensuring equitable outcomes and gender equality?
FAO’s vision for a Blue Transformation is the way forward. “Blue Transformation is the vision and the process by which FAO, its Members and partners can use existing and emerging knowledge, tools and practices to secure and maximize the contribution of aquatic (both marine and inland) food systems to food security, nutrition and affordable healthy diets for all” the report says.
Its core pillars are multistakeholder engagement and collaboration, effective fisheries management and upgraded value chains. “Effective management of all fisheries is a non-negotiable objective of Blue Transformation. Where effective management exists, fishery resources have been rebuilt and are increasingly sustainable” Manuel Barange (FAO) explained.
Where does this position marine ingredients?
“By 2050, aquaculture is projected to expand and intensify further, almost doubling its current production. To sustain such production levels, large volumes of feed will be needed in terms of affordable protein, essential amino acid, additives, omega-3 fatty acids, key minerals, vitamins and energy sources. This will require the sourcing of additional raw materials that are currently either not available or otherwise used”, it says.
Complementing rather than replacing current feed ingredients is key. What’s more, sustainability credentials will be increasingly demanded.
“As demand grows, competition for feed ingredients intensifies, as does awareness of the sustainability of feed production. Indeed, producers of feed ingredients are increasingly required to demonstrate sustainability and traceability, including through certification schemes such as those of the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and Marin Trust” the FAO states in the report.
We are proud to see MarinTrust recognised at such a level, crucial as it is to source marine ingredients responsibly and produce them according to the highest standards.
The FAO has sketched what future feed ingredients should look like (page 121):
“(i) nutritionally adequate (i.e. digestible, and not significantly impairing the physiological functions, growth and health status of the farmed species); (ii) palatable to the farmed organism; (iii) obtained from sustainable production scalable to commercial levels; (iv) physically stable; (v) easily handled and stored; and, more crucially, (vi) nutritious and with lower environmental and life cycle impacts”.
Marine ingredients are well positioned to support the projected growth in aquaculture and will continue to provide important nutritional ingredients for aquatic foods!