PHOTO(S): © Beau Wrigley
This goal assesses our ability to sustainably maximize the production of farm-raised marine food.
The current score indicates that most regions are not sustainably producing as much farmed seafood as they could. A small number of countries are responsible for almost all global mariculture production. In fact, in 2020 China produced a staggering 67% of global mariculture production.
Even though mariculture has been one of the fastest growing food sectors in the world over the past 20 years (FAO 2020) global mariculture scores have only seen a slight increase since 2012. This is largely because many countries could sustainably produce much more aquaculture. Several countries are not producing aquaculture in a sustainable manner.
Chile and Norway are two of the world’s largest mariculture producers, however they both receive low Mariculture scores (a score of 17 for Chile, a score of 49 for Norway). Why is this the case? Both are large producers of salmon, which has a terrible sustainability score (~0.45) due to excess nutrient run-off from antibiotics and pesticides associated with marine net pen farming. The discrepancy between these two regions, despite having similar production, is due to production potential (Gentry et al. 2017). Norway has a much lower production potential than Chile, because Chile has a massive coastline with many bays and inlets perfect for mariculture farming. Norway exceeds its potential mariculture demand, while Chile does not, hence the higher score. For Norway to increase its score it will need to adopt more sustainable practices for its salmon production. Chile, however, should both increase production, and adopt more sustainable farming practices to increase their score.