Aquaculture 2010 and Looking into the Future

Red Jamaican Hybrid Tilapia
Aquaculture is a rapidly growing business, reaching $86 billion dollars globally in 2009. Yet while China, India, and Vietnam lead the world aquaculture market in production, the United States lags considerably behind. Is the United States aquaculture market too timid and restricted to compete with international markets? Are government regulations hindering the growth of aquaculture? And perhaps most importantly, what are the best ways to maximize profits from aquaculture within these restrictions?

Greg Lutz, a professor at Louisiana State University and contributor to Aquaculture Magazine for the past 15 years, explains that individuals who promote aquaculture purely for personal gain do not fully grasp the important environmental benefits aquaculture provides. A consultant to countries across the world, Lutz understands that the advantages of aquaculture will be clearly shown in the coming decade by increasing the efficiency of conversion of feedstuffs. Through his research, Lutz has found that, “aquatic species like tilapia and catfish can convert feedstuffs from 50% to 400% more efficiently than traditional livestock such as poultry, hogs and cattle, while producing less waste and conserving soil and other natural resources.” Therefore, aquaculture offers a more economic alternative to other food items while simultaneously helping preserve the environment.

Ward Spruyt, a biochemical engineer and independent consultant for aquaculture feed mills across Latin American, Asia, Europe and the Middle East, examines growth and investment within the aquaculture industry. Spruyt’s extensive knowledge of the intricacies of aquaculture serves to illuminate various issues regarding the nature of this particular business. Understanding that success on a large scale hinges upon attracting investors, Spruyt believes that the best plan of action is a solid business plan and a wide understanding of the industry. Spruyt also notes that due to problems of population growth, the industry needs to find a sustainable way to increase production per surface unit, and to turn to the sea surface to produce food such as fish, shellfish, crustaceans, micro- and macro algae. If expanded properly, Spruyt says aquaculture “will be part of a possible solution to feeding the people” challenged by the limited carrying capacity of the planet.

Greg Lutz and Ward Spruyt offer expert advice into understanding the nature of the aquaculture industry on Zintro. It is clear from their commentary that aquaculture offers a viable solution to environmental and social problems affecting the world, and that investment in the industry will likely increase. The United States may produce fewer foodstuffs through aquaculture than other countries, but there is still opportunity for business growth.

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