Feeding Aquaculture in an Era of Finite Resources
Aquaculture’s pressure on forage fisheries remains hotly contested. This article reviews trends in fishmeal and fish oil use in industrial aquafeeds, showing reduced inclusion rates but greater total use associated with increased aquaculture production and demand for fish high in long-chain omega-3 oils. The ratio of wild fisheries inputs to farmed fish output has fallen to 0.63 for the aquaculture sector as a whole but remains as high as 5.0 for Atlantic salmon. Various plant- and animal-based alternatives are now used or available for industrial aquafeeds, depending on relative prices and consumer acceptance, and the outlook for single-cell organisms to replace fish oil is promising. With appropriate economic and regulatory incentives, the transition toward alternative feedstuffs could accelerate, paving the way for a consensus that aquaculture is aiding the ocean, not depleting it.