Written by: Elena Mente, Katerina Kousoulaki, Ioannis Nengas
This article was first published on 11 April 2021 in the Feed & Additive Magazine
The ongoing positive growth trend of the aquaculture industry continues, reflecting the rising demand for healthy human food products. Availability of sustainable ingredients in fish feeds is crucial to maintain the increasing demand of the aquaculture industry and the consumers. In FutureEUAqua, resilient fish, efficient in utilizing sustainable innovative tailor-made diets are developed.
European aquaculture production has reached 1.3 million tonnes in volume with a value of over 4 billion euro (EU-28 member states). Of this amount, 4% is certified as organic, amounting in 2015 to a total of approximately 50,000 tonnes (Lembo and Mente, 2019). Nevertheless, significant bottlenecks present in organic farming need to be overcome in order to maintain this positive trend. In 2015, EU consumers spent 54 billion euro for buying fisheries and aquaculture products, reaching the highest amount ever recorded (EUMOFA, 2017).
However, Europe is still heavily dependent on external markets to cover this demand. Thus, EU aquaculture needs to increase the competitiveness of its products and respond to consumer demands for high-quality and safe food, in a challenging context of climate change, greater competition for natural resources, and conflicting interests for space and markets. To ensure food and nutrition security by 2030, the food production sectors have to sustainably expand in terms of space use, production and new value chains, exploring and enhancing innovation opportunities offered by sustainable and resilient aquaculture production systems, implementing the circular economy principles and increasing social acceptance of the corresponding activities and products.