Seafood demand is outstripping supply. 


International demand for seafood is increasing by over an additional 1 million metric tonnes every year. 

The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) has previously estimated that by 2030, annual global fish consumption will be 150-160 million metric tonnes.

However, as at 2016 the current world population of 7.3 billion already consumes 20kg of fish per capita.

The expected population at 2030 will be 8.5 billion.

At 20kg per capita the population is now therefore expected to require 170 million metric tonnes by 2030. 

In addition to human consumption, marine products are used extensively to feed land based farmed animals. Also, in the pharmaceutical, nutraceutical and cosmetic industries and recently in the biofuel industry.

Whilst demand is increasing, supply is stalling.


International commercial fishing production is estimated to peak at no more than 100 million metric tonnes per annum. Aquaculture production around the world is therefore forecast to increase in order to attempt to meet this demand.

However, climate change is altering the availability of wild stocks and the ability of inflexible aquaculture operations to expand.

Inability to manage risks such as adverse weather conditions, viruses, parasites and bacteria are affecting aquaculture ventures internationally. Inappropriate use of antibiotics in the sea and on land may also affect safe, quality production capacity.

The inability to expand production in order to match increasing demand means that prices will continue to increase. 

Aquaculture ventures that can competently manage risks and provide consistent supply will be sought by seafood processors and distributors. 

In addition, the provision of consistent quality, real environmental traceability and provenance can command additional brand price premiums. 

Governments around the world are concerned that food security for their populations may be compromised if sufficient seafood protein cannot be sourced. Logically, their policies will increasingly favour local aquaculture production if it is environmentally sustainable. In addition, import tariff regimes may alter in order that their populations can access sufficient seafood protein. 


Australia imports approximately 70% of its seafood.

Logically, if world shortages persist, Australia’s imported seafood supply could be expected to diminish as it is diverted to growing Asian markets which are closer to the point of production and are prepared to pay comparable prices.

The Australian market for seafood is therefore growing at the same time that it may not be able to satisfy existing demand. This market could be serviced by local farmed product.  Australian aquaculture can produce both tropical and temperate species, in the ocean and on land.  Australia is also strategically placed to service the growing Asian market and is internationally recognised as a producer of quality seafood.

If Australia aims at servicing only 1% of the world’s annual increase in seafood demand, it will need to produce an additional 10,000 tonnes every year. 

Aquaculture ventures do not need to necessarily target high value species, as long as the cost of production is low enough to produce an acceptable profit per product unit.

This can be achieved by various methods, but predominantly by designing enterprises that get the best value from infrastructure, power, labour, feed and processing costs.

Some enterprises have relied on natural low intensity methods to lower power costs, whilst others have established intensive production such that the increased power costs are outweighed by production levels.

In many cases, income from economies of scale are key in order to outweigh initial and fixed annual costs.

Specific business opportunities must be assessed on their own merit, but there are potential opportunities which deserve to be investigated.

For example, low intensity aquaculture farms can achieve annual production tonnages on land of 10 – 20 tonnes per hectare.  High intensity recirculation systems and marine aquaculture can achieve greater tonnages per hectare. Production from only 20 hectares of a low intensity farm can therefore produce 200 – 400 tonnes.  At only Aus$5 per kilo, such an enterprise could therefore achieve an annual income of Aus$1-$2 million.  However, many species achieve a much higher farm gate value.

These days international aquaculture ventures produce seafood on an industrial scale which has given rise to environmental concerns.

This potential income at each production cycle is only profitable if costs and risks are managed.

Multi Species Farming

Most aquaculture enterprises to date have followed land farming models by concentrating on producing large numbers of one species.  However, it is increasingly apparent that producing several species within a managed ecosystem may reduce and spread risks, produce more within a given space, reduce waste and improve the environment.


This site provides information about risks and risk management strategies that Hernen Consulting may consider when assessing opportunities.

This is provided for information only.  Hernen Consulting accepts no responsibility for any loss, damage or injury incurred by any party using this information for their own purposes.

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© Martin Hernen 2016