Joseph Lee Manager • about 5 years ago
Problem Statement 15-1: "Track aquaculture feed ingredients from the original source to the harvested product"
NOTE: This is a featured problem statement. Featured problem statements have been qualified for post-Fishackathon engagement by both the submitting party and by our expert panel. While all of the submitted problem statements qualify for the prizes, these have vetted for contunuation beyond the event itself.
The demand for healthy seafood protein continues to grow. Wild-capture fisheries harvests have leveled off and cannot meet the growing demand alone. Aquaculture, or the farming of aquatic organisms, is filling the demand gap and is the fastest growing food production sector in the world. One of the benefits of farmed seafood is its ability to convert feed into edible protein more efficiently than other animal proteins. But this can also present challenges. Carnivorous fish like salmon require fish meal and fish oil from wild sources. In addition to overfishing, illegal, unregulated, and unreported (IUU) fishing can be associated with poorly managed stocks used to supply fish feed. These practices can also be tied to human rights violations. Aquaculture production must double by 2050 to meet the growing demand for seafood protein, but it must grow with transparency throughout the supply chain and without unacceptable impacts on the environment.
The largest portion of aquaculture’s environmental footprint comes from feeding the farmed fish. Feed formulations have greatly improved toward more judicious use of marine feed resources. Responsible producers are switching to ingredients that will have less impact on the planet, such as: fish meal and fish oil from well-managed fisheries, fishery byproducts, vegetable proteins, and insects. The Aquarium of the Pacific and its Seafood for the Future program propose to create a cell phone platform that tracks the feed ingredients from the original source to the harvested product to promote responsible feed sourcing and help buyers and consumers make informed seafood purchasing decisions. The platform should also highlight and provide scientific and purchasing information on responsible feed sources available for farmers and buyers.
The aquaculture sector is the largest consumer of fisheries harvested for non-food uses, accounting for 75% of the total non-food harvest. While the amount of wild fish required to produce a unit of protein has decreased, the volume of production continues to increase. Alternative feed sources that meet the nutritional requirements of specific species and production systems are being researched and developed, but fish meal and fish oil still represent an ideal nutritional profile for some species.
The use of prepared aquaculture feeds is helping to develop transparency in the supply chain. Unfortunately, the global usage of farm-made aquaculture feeds and low-value fish as a feed source is still largely undocumented. The majority of these feeds are used for production in Asia and Africa.
Slave labor and human trafficking been linked to IUU fishing vessels supplying the marine fish products that feed farmed seafood in some parts of the world. This is an issue for which multiple organizations and agencies are working to combat, but traceability remains an obstacle. There is opportunity for an easy to use tracking tool that provides transparency and market incentives to help fill in some of the information gaps and contribute to ending unacceptable human rights violations and sourcing from unsustainable fisheries.
Naylor, R.L., R.W. Hardy, D.P. Bureau, A. Chiu, M. Elliott, A.P. Farrell, I. Forster, D.M. Gatlin, R.J. Goldberg, K. Hua, and P.D. Nichols. 2009. Feeding aquaculture in an era of finite resources. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106(36): 15103-15110.
Tacon, A.G.J. and M. Metian. 2008. Global overview of fish meal and fish oil in industrial compounded aquafeeds: trends and future prospects. Aquaculture, 285: 146-158.
Tacon, A.G.J. and M. Metian. 2015. Feed matters: satisfying the feed demand of aquaculture. Reviews in Fisheries Science and Aquaculture, 23: 1-10.
Aquarium of the Pacific
320 Golden Shore
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