The Opportunity: Why Aquaculture? Why Now?

May 23, 2008

Seafood crisisDespite the apparent availability of seafood in the marketplace, the vast majority of which is imported into the United States, the world faces a potential global seafood crisis. A major study in the journal Science predicts the global collapse of the world’s major fisheries by the middle of this century. Already, over the past 50 years, there has been a 90 percent reduction of the ocean’s large predatory fish, including sharks, swordfish and tuna. Although wild-catch supplies are in steady decline, seafood consumption continues to rise, driven by both population growth and changing consumer behavior. Only aquaculture can bridge the gap between growing demand and limited wild supply.

Aquaculture production has increased at an average compound rate of 10 percent per year since 1990. Projections suggest that by 2030 most of the fish consumed by people worldwide will come from aquaculture. But many forms of aquaculture currently in use have serious inherent limitations, liabilities, risks and environmental impacts. Producers who avoid these risks by investing in land-based, recirculating aquaculture systems stand to reap significant financial rewards.

Fisheries collapse predicted by 2053In the United States, one of the world’s fastest-growing seafood markets, the gap between demand and supply is even more pronounced, contributing in excess of an $8 billion seafood trade deficit. Per capita consumption of seafood in the U.S. has jumped to 16.3 pounds, its highest level in more than 20 years, and is expected to continue rising. (Per capita consumption would more than double if consumers followed the government’s recommendation of two six-ounce servings per week.) By 2020 more than 70 million Americans will be over the age of 60, a group that consumes more seafood, dines out more often, and demands more processed and prepared meals. Hispanic and Asian populations, who also tend to consume more seafood on a per capita basis, are expected to increase. There is increasing demand for natural and organic foods and this now represents the fastest growing segment of the food industry. At the same time, there is increasing demand for packaged, ready-to-eat seafood. Next-generation aquaculture systems deliver consistent, reliable supplies of fish without the use of chemicals, hormones or antibiotics.

Aquaculture market opportunityThe global seafood crisis may well become a global protein crisis if risks such as Bird Flu, Mad Cow Disease, or terrorist attacks conspire to threaten other protein sources as well as rising transportation expense. Next-generation aquaculture systems, which are land-based, closed-containment (enclosed), and can be located close to market, are not only more efficient and environmentally sound than other forms of protein production, they also offer a far more bio-secure solution with dramatically reduced transportation costs.

What is Next-Generation Aquaculture?

May 22, 2008

Closed-containment, land-based recirculating systems for aquaculture are not new. However, the latest generation of this technology, highly integrated systems built from the ground up specifically for aquaculture purposes are distinct from land-based fish farms that employ tanks and pumps but have been assembled in an ad hoc fashion and fail to reach the efficiency, scalability and profitability of next-generation systems.

Next-generation aquacultureThe latest next-generation closed-containment aquaculture systems represent a quantum leap forward, both as a lucrative and low-risk business venture as well as the most sustainable and efficient form of aquaculture today, with efficiencies more than 10 times conventional fish farms. Next-generation systems recirculate up to 99 percent of their effluent, have no discharge, use no chemicals or antibiotics, and can be sited close to market, resulting in a fresher product and dramatically lower transportation costs (food miles).
Next-generation aquaculture systems are defined by the following attributes:

  • Fully-Integrated: System specifically designed and built for growth of particular species (versus one-of-a-kind “systems” assembled in an ad hoc fashion)
  • Management System: Includes a Comprehensive Management System with precise instructions and protocols (including a “User’s Manual”); Turnkey
  • Total Production Control: Quarantined systems offer exceptionally high level of control of inputs and growing conditions.
  • Reproducible Results: Next-generation systems are highly predictable, replicable and scalable.
  • Ultra-High Efficiency: Next-generation systems exhibit growth rates and efficiencies an order of magnitude greater than flow-through or open systems.
  • Competitive & Cost-Effective: Next-generation systems have a proven track record of successful economic performance, based on superior quality, consistency of quality and supply, and through economies of scale to defray capital costs.
  • Low-Risk & Insurable: Because of the high level of control of virtually all variables, risk is minimized. Next-generation systems are insurable (including livestock)
  • Sustainable Practices: Next-generation aquaculture systems dramatically minimize adverse environmental impacts associated with aquaculture. As closed, recirculating systems, there is no Aquaculture recirculation system schematiceffluent or any contact with wild populations. Facilities are land-based and can be sited close to market, with no impacts on coastal habitats and dramatically lower “food miles” required for transportation. Ultra-high efficiency means that these systems use a fraction of the feed of open systems. Finally, next-generation systems use no chemicals or antibiotics.

All of the systems offered by Aquaculture Developments are next-generation aquaculture systems.