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Towards a just and regenerative aquaculture system

I spoke about what a just and regenerative aquaculture system could look like at Sustainable Foods London London in November 2023

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Martin Koehring
Global Director of Impact
Forum for the Future
Towards a just and
regenerative
aquaculture system
1
Sustainable Foods London, 7 November 2023
● A Brief Introduction to Aquaculture
● The Three Horizons Model
● Horizon 1: Current System Dynamics
● Horizon 2: Transitions/Waves of Change
● Horizon 3: A Just & Regenerative Future
2
Agenda
Forum for the Future
3
Definition
Forum for the Future
Fish farms
Finfish
Crustaceans
Bivalves
Seaweed
Fed mariculture
Unfed mariculture
4
Aquaculture has overtaken wild fisheries
Forum for the Future
SOURCE: FAO
● 6+ times more food than today (High Level
Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy)
● Rising interest in health benefits
● Growing concern about environmental benefits
and costs (Blue Foods Assessment)
5
Seafood potential by 2050
Forum for the Future
6
Calorie & Protein Retention
Forum for the Future
SOURCE: Environmental Research Letters

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Towards a just and regenerative aquaculture system

  • 1. Martin Koehring Global Director of Impact Forum for the Future Towards a just and regenerative aquaculture system 1 Sustainable Foods London, 7 November 2023
  • 2. ● A Brief Introduction to Aquaculture ● The Three Horizons Model ● Horizon 1: Current System Dynamics ● Horizon 2: Transitions/Waves of Change ● Horizon 3: A Just & Regenerative Future 2 Agenda Forum for the Future
  • 3. 3 Definition Forum for the Future Fish farms Finfish Crustaceans Bivalves Seaweed Fed mariculture Unfed mariculture
  • 4. 4 Aquaculture has overtaken wild fisheries Forum for the Future SOURCE: FAO
  • 5. ● 6+ times more food than today (High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy) ● Rising interest in health benefits ● Growing concern about environmental benefits and costs (Blue Foods Assessment) 5 Seafood potential by 2050 Forum for the Future
  • 6. 6 Calorie & Protein Retention Forum for the Future SOURCE: Environmental Research Letters
  • 7. 7 SOURCE: Environmental Research Letters Climate impact ● Seafood generally outperforms livestock ● Particularly strong: farmed seaweeds and bivalves (Blue Foods Assessment)
  • 8. 8
  • 9. 9
  • 10. 10 Horizon 1: Current system dynamics Forum for the Future Replication of agricultural system Lack of stakeholder incentives & awareness to change the current system Unsustainable fish feed Short-sighted stakeholders Unjust & unsustainable practices affecting people's, animal and environmental health Technology mainly serves the purpose of scale, efficiency and profitability
  • 11. 11 Horizon 2: Transitions (waves of change) Forum for the Future New business models and governance models Increasing impact investment & institutional investor interest Rising consumer concerns about health, life span & climate action Emerging regulation to tackle unsustainable practices Growth of unfed mariculture (seaweed, bivalves) Technology supports compliance, certification, circular economy, local communities
  • 12. ● Founded in 2013 as “smart feeder” for smallholder fish and shrimp farmers ● Large coop: 70,000+ farmers in 280 cities ● Vertical and lateral growth: linking farmers to feed suppliers & other inputs (online marketplace) ● Value-chain approach: feed supply, production and sale ● Government support, eg blue economy roadmap 12 Case study: eFishery in Indonesia Forum for the Future
  • 13. 13 Horizon 3: A just & regenerative future Forum for the Future New paradigm for scaling to maximise impact rather than profit Stewardship governance models High investor confidence Long-term thinking embedded in mindset of stakeholders Just & regenerative practices Technology in service of planetary health Unfed mariculture & circular fish feed One Health approach is widely embraced
  • 14. ● Aquaculture: opportunities & risks ● System diagnosis tool: Three Horizons ● Horizon 1: unsustainable patterns mirroring aquaculture ● Horizon 2: waves of change through impact investors & new business models ● Horizon 3: just & regenerative system based on new paradigm for governance, fish feed and One Health approach 14 Conclusion Forum for the Future
  • 15. Find out more: forumforthefuture.org schoolofsystemchange.org Get in touch: m.koehring@forumforthefuture.org 15 Thank you! Forum for the Future

Editor's Notes

  1. Aquaculture is breeding, raising, and harvesting fish, shellfish, and aquatic plants. Finfish: salmon, sea bass, sole Fed vs unfed Land vs sea as well
  2. In the total fisheries and aquaculture production of aquatic animals and algae, aquaculture had already overtaken capture fisheries as the primary source of aquatic production in 2013, and its share in total production reached 57 percent in 2020 Aquatic foods contribute about 17 percent of the animal proteins consumed in 2019, reaching 23 percent in lower-middle-income countries and more than 50 percent in parts of Asia and Africa.
  3. Under optimistic projections regarding alternative mariculture feed innovations and uptake, the ocean could supply over six times more food than it does today (364 million metric tons of animal protein). This represents more than two-thirds of the edible meat that the FAO estimates will be needed to feed the future global population Not just protein: vitamins, minerals and fatty acids; tackling micronutrient deficiencies
  4. Weight-based feed conversion ratios – the amount of feed administered over the lifetime of an animal divided by weight gained the ratio of protein (or calories) in the edible portion of the animal divided by the amount of protein (or calories) in the feed.
  5. carbon impact of foods Banana Index: compares popular foodstuffs on three metrics—weight, calories and protein—indexed to the banana Seafood outperforms animal meat as a source of protein (more carbon-friendly) - salmon and prawn for example the ratio of protein (or calories) in the edible portion of the animal divided by the amount of protein (or calories) in the feed.
  6. School of System Change: ongoing inquiry on the aquaculture system Replication of agricultural system: Focus on extraction, productivity, profit and efficiency; Investors value scale, standardisation and replication; Unsustainable inputs (fertilisers, antibiotics); Highly concentrated industry (The top 10 seafood-producing countries account for 89% of aquaculture production and 75% of listed companies.); Monoculture, less diversity of species; Reliant on land-based production for feed (e.g. soy) Lack of incentives for a just and regenerative system: Aquaculture investors find it challenging to find enough businesses at scale to invest in; Producers mainly concerned about revenues and profits; Lack of consumer awareness about the impact of the industry; Fishing communities often frustrated by economic barriers to transition to aquaculture Unsustainable fish feed: Ocean-based: Fish meal and fish oil; Land-based: soy, corn etc Short-sighted stakeholders: No concern for long-term consequences (Rampant fish disease and parasite; Pollution (e.g. industry waste, uneaten feed); Environmental impacts of soy fish feed overlooked; Take, make, waste approach (linear mindset) Unjust & unsustainable practices affecting people's, fish and environmental health: 1) People dimension (Often not produced by or for local communities, Misaligned with interests and long-term welfare of local community and environment, Benefits of local food production not reinvested in local communities, Loss of traditional livelihoods); 2) Animal dimension (Neglect for animal welfare); 3) Environmental dimension (Invasive species (e.g. Iceland's wild salmon impacted by Norwegian fish farms); Technology mainly serves the purpose of scale, efficiency and profitability: Technology-driven industry (fish feed, data analytics, IoT, AI), Transparency and certification are low priorities, Investment goes to most viable technologies
  7. New business models and governance models emerging: eFishery in Indonesia; Rise in cooperative business models; GSI - Platform to drive sustainability in farmed salmon system. Brings industry and supply chain together; Increasing impact investment in the aquaculture space: Aqua-Spark (over 300 investors from more than 25 countries, Aqua-Spark is a global community of investors), Ocean14 Capital; Institutional investors increasingly investing in the blue economy (including sustainable aquaculture) Consumers' rising concerns about health and life span & climate action: Consumer demand for healthier food, Increasing awareness and interest in the methods and practices involved in food production, Growing interest in the benefits of seaweed Emerging regulation to tackle unsustainable practices: Fish feed quotas (e.g. Denmark), Retailers setting clearer environmental and social standards; Rising transparency linked to ESG, certification, regulation and policy Technology increasingly serves the purpose of compliance, certification, the circular economy and local communities: Rise in Integrated multi-trophic aquaculture; Innovations in Recirculating Aquaculture Systems, Rise in offshore aquaculture (enabling more sustainable scaling), Investment in genetics to boost diversity
  8. New paradigm for scaling to maximise impact rather than profit: Scale in connectivity (e.g. cultivating fish feed close to fish farms); Scale in size when required (R&D, offshore, lab-grown); Scaling embraces complexity (vs standardisation) Stewardship governance models: Connected network of stakeholders aligned on just and regenerative strategic goals; System with clear connection between producer and consumer transparency and mutual care High investor confidence in aquaculture: Government support (subsidies/tax breaks) and regulatory framework that encourages impact investing that is just and regenerative One Health approach is widely embraced: Stakeholders recognise that health of people is closely connected to health of animals and the environment; Consumers' rising concern for planetary health (including fish health, origin of fish etc.); Strong consumer preference for food from aquaculture Unfed mariculture is a critical part of the aquaculture system & Circular fish feed (e.g. animal by-products, food waste); Fish feed mainly from crops from the sea (e.g. algae, seaweed, marine bacteria); fish meal and soy banned in fish feed Long-term thinking embedded in mindset of stakeholders: Circular mindset, Sustainability is embedded into aquaculture business models, Thriving biodiverse ecosystem, biological performance Just & regenerative practices: Diverse, just & inclusive ecosystem, Global and local governance working towards just & regenerative outcomes, Prioritisation of community-based food systems Technology in service of planetary health: Monitoring & safeguarding health and safety of fish and the environment, Seaweed matures as a carbon sink opportunity