Advancing sustainability science
June 10 2021
Growth within the aquaculture sector is essential for filling the global nutrition gap and achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).
Aquafeed supply chains are highly complex. Ingredients are sourced from all over the world and their production and use leads to a combination of local and global environmental impacts.
Aquaculture feeds have undergone a dramatic shift in raw material composition in the last decade. Increased reliance on plant ingredients, such as soy and rapeseed have introduced new sustainability challenges like biodiversity loss, land use and water pollution. Studies using life cycle analysis (LCA) have shown that farmed seafood has a lower carbon footprint compared to other farmed animals.
The LCA methodology currently lacks the scientific flexibility required to better understand the trade-offs from changing raw material usage and increasing overall consumption.
In order to advance sustainability science in aquaculture, BioMar has partnered with leading environmental scientists on a 4-year research project titled "Optimising feeds to explicitly support ecosystem-based aquaculture" to help improve our understanding of sustainability challenges.
In this project, expert knowledge within aquaculture nutrition, feed formulation, marine ecology and food production systems will be used to link local production to global processes and reliably inform aquaculture on sustainable growth pathways forward.
One focus area is determining how the introduction of novel raw materials including insect meal, single cell organisms, and circular ingredients will redistribute impacts geographically and temporally.
One of the main goals of the project is to compare alternative feeds and their trade-offs for achieving the UN SDGs. BioMar and partners will assess emerging raw materials and integrate results into models for predicting the sustainability of current and future feed formulations.
An additional goal of the project is to improve the transparency of the aquaculture industry and align with global and local stakeholders on sustainability priorities and policies.
“Through this project, BioMar and our partners aim to enhance aquaculture production, build resilient food systems and develop robust methodologies that advance sustainability science.”