Riding New Waves of Change in Aquaculture

The young and rapidly growing aquaculture industry is in constant flux. We identify key dynamics that not only foster change and growth in farmed seafood but also attract financial, strategic, and sustainability-minded investors into the industry.

Report summary

Aquaculture is the youngest, fastest-growing, and most dynamic protein-producing industry. Having grown by a CAGR of over 6% in the last decade (2005-2015), aquaculture has overtaken the volumes produced by the beef industry. And it will overtake wild-catch seafood and eggs in a few years to become the third-largest protein-producing industry globally, behind poultry and pork.

This growth is driven by many factors, such as technological advances and demand factors, like the consumption trend for healthy low-fat/omega-3-rich proteins. The efficient use of feed is a key advantage of aquatic farming relative to other proteins, allowing farmed fish to be priced competitively versus terrestrial proteins, even though this industry has a far lower scale of production and maturity.

Among the many changing factors, we identify three key dynamics occurring in different parts of the value chain that will shape the aquaculture industry in the next decade, namely:

(1) development of new feed ingredients

(2) changing farming technology and farming business models

(3) China’s move from being the world’s largest exporter of seafood to potentially one of the leading seafood importers

With these dynamics in place, long-term aquaculture could be one of the key solutions to feeding our rising global population with a healthier diet, while using less of the planet’s scarce resources.