While the aquaculture sector continues to grow and make an ever-increasing contribution to world food supplies, there is a need to ensure that the sector continues to develop in a socially, economically and environmentally sustainable manner, in line with the United Nations sustainable development goals.
In a recent paper, researchers described the major perceived sustainability issues related to feed inputs for finfish and crustacean aquaculture species, including sustainability issues related to feed formulation and ingredient selection, feed manufacture and feed quality, on-farm feed use and impacts, and fish quality and food safety.
“There is a need for a more holistic approach and to consider other feed-related factors to ensure the long-term sustainable development of the aquaculture sector,” authors said. In their view, the major perceived sustainability issues facing the commercial aquafeed sector can be viewed at four levels, namely:
- Sustainability issues related to feed formulation and ingredient selection, such as prohibiting the use of non-sustainable marine and terrestrial feed ingredients sources, non-approved chemicals, medicants and feed additives and the need to reduce carbon footprint of aquafeeds and the use of potentially food-grade feed ingredients.
- Sustainability issues related to feed manufacture and feed quality, such as ensuring the feed mill is run according to industry standards, ingredients not produced with forced labor, feeds that meet nutritional requirements of target species and the need for feed quality control and transparency in ingredients.
- Sustainability issues related to on-farm feed use and impacts, such as the need to record feed consumption, proper feed storage, prohibit top-dressing feeds on farm, optimize feed efficiency and monitor the environmental impact of feeds.
- Sustainability issues related to fish quality and food safety, such as the safety of aquaculture products.
“A sustainable food system is a food system that delivers food security and nutrition for all in such a way that the economic, social and environmental bases to generate food supply and nutrition for future generations are not compromised, and that it is profitable throughout economic sustainability, has broad-based benefits for society and also has a positive or neutral impact on the natural environment. Moreover, in view of the complexity of food production systems (including aquaculture food production systems), it is clear that a more holistic and coordinated response is required, and that these systems generate positive value along the three dimensions of economic impacts, social impacts and environmental impacts, simultaeneously,” authors concluded.
Check out the study here.