8 digital technologies disrupting aquaculture


Aquaculture, also known as aqua farming, is believed to have first begun around 4,000 years ago in China with the production of carp and is now the fastest-growing animal food production sector in the world. For the first time in history, the consumption of farmed fish has exceeded that of wild-caught fish, and by 2030, aquaculture is expected to account for two-thirds of the fish that humans consume. Aquaculture also includes the production of shellfish, crustaceans and seaweeds that provide both important sources of human nutrition and molecular components for the pharmaceutical industry.


The increased demand for fish has put a strain on resources and sustainable practices among fisheries, requiring the innovative use of existing and new technologies. Fortunately, there is great potential to produce this protein source sustainably, particularly through the advent of technology.


Like other agricultural industries, the technologies being introduced within aquaculture are the focus of interest from the farming community and its investors. According to AgFunder, aquaculture investment increased 271 percent in 2016 over the previous two years.


The demand for fish is ever-increasing, particularly as its health benefits continue to gain acclaim with consumers, who, overall, are becoming more interested in the nutritional advantages of their food choices. While the production of fish as a primary protein source is considerably more efficient than other protein sources such as cattle or pork by as much as six and four times, respectively, on a feed conversion basis, much can still be done to improve production and efficiency in aquaculture. In a previous article, I identified eight technologies that possess the power to transform agriculture. I’d like to outline specifically how these eight technologies are having a profound impact on aquaculture.


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