Sustainable aquaculture

© GIZ / Emmanuel Banda

Promoting healthy and environmentally friendly food through sustainable aquaculture

About half of the aquatic food consumed worldwide comes from aquaculture. Forecasts suggest that global demand will rise from the current 157 million tonnes to 204 million tonnes by 2030. The majority of this increase will come from aquaculture, as wild fisheries yields are not expected to increase significantly. The growth (eight per cent annually since 1990) and market share of the aquaculture industry has focused attention on its potential and the challenges involved.

The challenges vary depending on the type of aquaculture, with environmental impacts ranging from sustainable to problematic. They include the destruction of ecosystems such as mangroves, eutrophication of water bodies, the spread of invasive species and diseases, conflicts over resource use, the use of harmful chemicals and pharmaceuticals and the use of unsustainable fish meal and oil.

On the other hand, there is potential for climate protection, employment and food security. Compared to terrestrial animal husbandry, integrated aquaculture is often more climate-friendly. Extractive species, such as mussels and algae, provide food and ecosystem services such as water filtration and nutrient and carbon sequestration. The majority of aquaculture products come from small and medium-sized enterprises in the Global South, which are linked to local markets through value chains and create employment opportunities. The expansion of aquaculture has reduced the price of farmed fish, making it affordable for low-income consumers. By providing high-quality food, rich in proteins, fatty acids, micronutrients and vitamins, the sector contributes to food security.

To realise the industry’s potential, action is required to accelerate changes in politics, management, innovation, technology and knowledge transfer. Given the vulnerability of the sector to climate change, adaptation measures are becoming increasingly important. Against this background, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH supports its partner countries, international organisations, businesses and civil society in promoting sustainable aquaculture. We are guided by international agreements, such as the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Ecosystem Approach to Aquaculture of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

GIZ adopts the following approaches in its activities to promote the sector:

  • With multistakeholder platforms, we create a space for interest groups from different sectors (public, private, government) to develop coordinated responses (for example: curricula, technical and vocational education and training programmes and training manuals) to common challenges (for example: strengthening technical capacities).
  • Through public-private partnerships, we support the North-South and South-South transfer of innovation to our partner countries.
  • At the macro, meso and micro level (multilevel approach), we take different perspectives on change processes and incorporate them into the advisory services we provide for our partners and into approaches for the co-implementation of projects.

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