© GIZ/Ladislao di Domenica

The growing demand for seafood can only be met by aquaculture. However, intensive production must also meet environmental standards.


The fish demand of 200 million tonnes per year forecast for 2030 can only be covered by further expansion of aquaculture methods. Their sustainable development, without negative consequences for the environment, is one of the social challenges of the 21st century.

Between 2001 and 2016, aquaculture recorded an average annual growth rate of 5.8 percentage, making it the fastest growing sector in total food production. Global aquaculture production in 2016 exceeded 110 million tonnes. Today, every second fish, crustacean or shellfish consumed comes from aquaculture.

The majority of aquaculture production takes place in developing and emerging countries, with Asia at the centre. In regional terms, aquaculture represents > 40 percent of total fish production in Asia (excluding China), > 17 percent in Africa, America and Europe and > 13 percent in Oceania. The yield is used both to supply national markets, especially domestic fish farming in developing countries, and for export. Coastal aquaculture, especially for the production of shrimps, is one of the most important sources of foreign exchange in Asian and Latin American developing countries.

The negative ecological and socio-economic effects - deforestation, including mangrove forests, eutrophication, pollution, loss of biodiversity and abstraction of water in areas with high water scarcity - became increasingly apparent as a result of rapid growth and increasingly intensive cultivation.

At the same time, this sector is an important source of income for many small and family businesses, which make up a large portion of the producers.

Climate change is likely to lead predominantly to negative consequences as potentials for aquaculture, including loss of production and infrastructure due to extreme weather events, and negatively changed production conditions.


Against this background, GIZ supports governments, business and civil society in making aquaculture sustainable. International agreements such as the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, the Biodiversity Convention and the 'Ecosystem Approach to Aquaculture' of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) are important instruments. Aquaculture has also become a focus of efforts to combat malnutrition and malnutrition.

The following aspects are the focus of GIZ's work in the field of aquaculture:

  • The GIZ is committed to creating and enforcing a legal framework that guarantees the responsible use of resources and the introduction of integrated ecosystem approaches.
  • Improving market access and disseminating market-oriented instruments such as sustainability standards.
  • Promotion of informed strategies and measures for gender equality in the entire aquaculture value chain.
  • Development of the aquaculture value chain with environmentally compatible technical innovations to intensify or increase the production of small and medium-sized enterprises, application of quality, environmental and social standards and certification.
  • Strengthening technical and business capacities with a focus on small and medium-sized enterprises producing for local, regional or international markets.
  • Promoting resilience and adaptation to the consequences of climate change, including synergies with agriculture and water use, but also credit and climate risk insurance capacity.