Sustainable aquaculture

Aquaculture currently supplies around half of the fish consumed globally and is projected to grow from 66.6 million metric tons in 2012 to 93.2 tons by 2030. But significant improvements in aquaculture technologies, farming systems and value chains are needed to achieve this increase in production—and in ways that are socially and environmentally responsible.

The sustainable aquaculture flagship program focuses on the key research question of: How can productivity-improving technologies and management practices enable aquaculture to achieve its fullest contribution to equitable livelihoods and food and nutrition security while delivering environmental benefits?

To answer this, FISH conducts research in three clusters:

  1. Fish breeds and genetics
  2. Feeds, fish nutrition and health
  3. Aquaculture systems

Research is focused in countries with low and medium Human Development Indicators and high dependence on fish for food, where aquaculture is in early stages of development but needs accelerated growth to fill projected shortfalls, or where aquaculture is already established but opportunities exist to sustainably intensify to the supply levels required to meet growing domestic or regional demand.

Research advances in these areas will contribute to sustainable growth, while ensuring that poor farmers, their families and communities access direct nutritional and economic benefits from a sustainably-growing aquaculture sector.

Impacts are delivered through widespread dissemination and use of improved tilapia and carp seed, application of best management practices, adoption of fish disease control measures, sustainable aquafeeds and adoption of production systems with reduced greenhouse gas emissions and improved water and nutrient use.

Fish breeds and genetics

FISH delivers cumulative, permanent genetic gains in fish farmed widely in Africa and Asia by building on and extending WorldFish’s track record in fish breeding and genetics.  

FISH disseminates recent generations of improved breeds from WorldFish’s long-established tilapia breeding programs. We continue to further develop improved tilapia strains, conduct similar selective breeding in carps, and will conduct fish genetics research to incorporate resilience traits using genomic tools.

Outputs from this research will include:

  1. Faster-growing and more resilient tilapia and carp strains
  2. New productivity and resilience traits identified and incorporated into fish breeding programs, based on gender-responsive analysis of user needs
  3. Knowledge of genomic tools and methods to accelerate genetic gain and incorporate new traits in fish breeding programs
  4. Knowledge on end-user preferences of poor men and women for improved fish.

Feeds, fish nutrition and health

Improved fish breeds need to be healthy and have the right feeds and environmental conditions to achieve their full productive potential.

FISH aims to capture this opportunity by developing fish disease and health management measures, sustainable fish feed ingredients and feeding systems that will enable women and men farmers to harness the productive potential of improved fish breeds.

Outputs from this research will include:

  1. Fish disease surveillance and diagnostic tools
  2. Sustainable fish feed resources
  3. Integrated fish feed and health management packages for improved fish strains, based on gender-responsive needs analysis
  4. Knowledge on fish nutrition, environment, health and genetic interactions to inform future fish breeding programs.

Aquaculture systems

FISH assesses the on-farm performance of genetically improved fish seed under a range of farming practices. We also research different technology combinations and environments that can deliver improved performance from healthy, improved seed and sustainable feeds.

In addition, FISH assesses the barriers to private and public investments in sustainable selective breeding and adoption of genetically improve seed.

Outputs from this research will include:

  1. Scalable aquaculture system models, technology packages and best-practice interventions
  2. Inclusive and sustainable approaches to delivery and use of improved fish seed, health, feeds and aquaculture technology packages
  3. Inclusive and gender-sensitive and women-targeted business and entrepreneurial models for scaling aquaculture technologies
  4. Tools, models, data and analytical capacity to assess sustainable performance and adoption of aquaculture technology innovations.