Over the last decade, the aquaculture industry experienced consistent growth mainly in developing countries. Global aquaculture production will clearly continue to grow mainly as a result of improvements in production technology and increased demand for fish and shrimp products. However, aquaculture faces several important challenges in terms of efficient use of the raw materials that need to be addressed.
Several trends put contradictory pressures on the aquaculture industry. Reliance upon scarce and costly raw materials, such as fishmeal, and the optimal use of alternative ingredients constitute a main challenge in aquaculture. Consumer awareness about environmental sustainability encourages producers to improve the production performance through sustainable aquaculture practices.
However, the use of less costly protein sources and low-nutrient dense diets most likely will lead to lower protein digestibility, higher amino acid imbalance, higher carbohydrate and fiber content in feeds. This can lead to inefficient nutrient use, resulting in increased feed usage, greater susceptibility to disease and higher ammonia emissions—raising production costs and increasing the ecological footprint.