This article originally appeared in the State of Green Business 2021. You can download the entire report here.
The practice of farming finfish, shellfish and aquatic plants — by land and by sea — dates back 3,000 years as first the Chinese and then the Romans sought ways to supplement their food supplies with species such as carp and oysters.
In more modern times, support for aquaculture has ebbed and flowed along with concerns about animal health and welfare, worries over the effluent pollution caused by wastewater discharges, and the unintended impacts of production infrastructure such as pipes and pumps on natural ecosystems.
Now, a wave of technology innovation and funding from an eclectic group of companies ranging from Google’s parent Alphabet, to the Seed2Growth fund linked to Lukas Walton (grandson of Walmart founder Sam Walton), to Cargill and Chevron Ventures (both focused on fish-feed ventures) is changing the tide again.
In 2018, the last year for which figures were available, worldwide aquaculture production reached an all-time high of 114.5 million metric tons in “live weight,” representing a market value of almost $264 billion, according to a 2020 report by U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). That amount accounted for 52 percent of global fish consumption. The annual growth rate will slow over the next decade, but FAO projects aquaculture will supply close to 60 percent of fish consumed globally by 2030.
You have to be engaged in aquaculture, you have to be successful