This goal assesses our ability to sustainably maximize the production of farm-raised marine food.


As humanity’s population continues to expand, we must increasingly rely upon new and improved methods for cultivating food on land and in the ocean. The term aquaculture refers to the cultivation in water (fresh and saltwater) of animals or plants for human consumption. Mariculture refers to the commercial harvest of seafood that is farm-raised in the ocean and along the coast.

Aquaculture is the fastest growing animal food production sector in the world, with a 527% rise in production from 1990 to 2018 (FAO 2020)! As the population contines to grow, it will become increasingly important to efficiently grow food using sustainable mariculture practices.


(image from FAO 2020)

The mariculture goal score is based on the quantity of food obtained from mariculture relative to the amount that could be produced given the availability of suitable habitat. The harvest quantity for each species is adjusted for the sustainability of the farming practices where it is grown.

This approach does not penalize regions that have less geographic area conducive to mariculture, but it does assume all suitable coastal areas have necessary social inputs for labor, coastal access, infrastructure and economic demand.

High scores mean that a country is sustainably rearing as much farmed fish and seafood as possible based on its own potential. A low score can indicate one of two things – that seafood is being farmed in an unsustainable manner or that regions are not maximizing their potential to farm marine animals or seaweed in their coastal territory.


Explore the full description of the data and model used in the Global OHI MODEL. Or, take a look at PRACTICAL GUIDANCE for advice on adapting the goal for future assessments and to learn how previous OHI+ assessments have modified this goal to address differences in data availability or priorities.

OHI Model Icon Practical Guidance Icon


FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS (FAO) Global aquaculture production data. Learn more

SEAFOOD WATCH Monterey Bay Aquarium provides many resources, including regional guides to help consumers find sustainable seafood.

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FAO. (2020). The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2020: Interactive story. https://www.fao.org/state-of-fisheries-aquaculture