Policy: aquaculture’s growing role in global food security

Aquaculture has been shown to have the potential to increase and deliver benefits both economically and in food security in both low to middle-income economies.  Aquaculture enhances the quality of diets and health of populations through improved nutrition.  It is estimated that aquaculture alone accounts for 20.5 million jobs in 2018 and continues to grow.  It is vital for governments to support and enable this potential through helpful policies with the focus on food security, economic growth, employment, and environmental concerns.

Government Priorities

  • Governments should take nutrition and health implications of policies into account, not just focus on economic considerations.
  • Aquaculture produce should be fully incorporated into agriculture and trade policies, updated national food-based dietary guidelines, and considered within nutrition and health policies and strategies.
  • Governments should encourage access to loans to SMEs that are starting up or increasing production in aquaculture.
  • The promotion of inclusive growth should be a priority in order to benefit women and local communities.
  • Resolving competition for land for inland aquaculture requires careful consideration of the nutritional and health benefits of aquaculture products, diversification of food production, enhanced earnings when relatively unproductive land is repurposed, and possible increases in employment.

Investor Priorities

  • Investment should be encouraged to enhance the variety and profitability of aquaculture feed options across LMIC markets.
  • Environmental sustainability in new and existing aquaculture systems needs to be a priority.
  • The growing threat of antimicrobial resistant bacteria needs to be addressed by all countries.
  • Loss and waste in fish value chains needs to be tackled.

Research/ Development priorities

  • The report argues that key priorities for researchers include the need to identify alternatives to fishmeal and fish oil 
  • The genetic improvement of fish species – to increase productivity, enhance nutritional value, and improve disease resistance.
  • Diet/nutrition improvements to increase efficiency of feed conversion rates and growth rates.

How aquaculture can increase food security


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