India takes pride in leading the “Blue Revolution” that has reshaped the seafood industry. Today, our country ranks as the second-largest aquaculture player in the world, just behind China. However, it is much more than just numbers. It’s about how seafood production impacts our rural and coastal communities, improving livelihoods and providing employment, and entrepreneurship opportunities, helping our rural economy grow.
The global trend in seafood consumption has shifted dramatically in the last decade or so. Today, every second fish on our plate is farmed (in contrast to the marine capture from the ocean). Overfishing and climate change have put marine resources under stress, and aquaculture has emerged as a viable alternative to fill this gap. The share of aquaculture in the global seafood market has increased. In fact, two out of three fishes consumed today come from land-based farms in India, making aquaculture a sunrise sector and reaffirming India’s position as the largest producer, globally.
The road ahead
While we have made impressive strides, the road ahead isn’t simply about increasing production, as many would point out. There is a pressing need to make efficient use of resources and embrace sustainability. Our food systems are under intense pressure as the world population reaches the 8 billion mark. We need to adopt more efficient and sustainable ways of producing food. Seafood, fulfilling nearly 20 per cent of the global animal protein demand, plays a pivotal role in this regard. Farmed seafood is a far more efficient source of protein with an FCR (Feed Conversion Ratio) ratio of 1:1.2, one of the lowest in meat production compared to chicken, beef, and pork. As we gear up to combat climate change, are we prepared to embrace technology for sustainable seafood production?
As a leading global producer of seafood, India is positioned to lead and bring the next set of innovations to make the sector more sustainable and set benchmarks. But as the industry is growing rapidly, today’s major challenge is the lack of transparency in the seafood value chain. Despite being one of the oldest and biggest industries, the fisheries and aquaculture sector hasn’t fully harnessed the power of technological advancements. The understanding of carbon emissions and its impact on climate change is still at a nascent stage due to lack of efficient data collection mechanisms in aquaculture.
“You can control things only when you can measure them.” This holds particularly true for the aquaculture industry. Intelligent tech intervention will not only help improve productivity and efficiency but also help quantify emissions and drive decarbonisation efforts. As an aquaculture technology pioneer, Aquaconnect, leverages AI and satellite remote sensing to bring transparency, efficiency, and predictability to the seafood value chain thereby providing market linkage solutions to the stakeholders. Its AI-powered platform derives critical insights from the data intelligence — from active farming status and farming duration to pattern identification and harvest prediction across multiple levels — from an individual pond to the national scale.
Scalable tech capabilities are helping drive decarbonisation efforts in the seafood sector by quantifying emissions to identify the gaps, scope, and significant Greenhouse contributors. This further helps in measuring the carbon footprint and gain necessary insights to devise strategic countermeasures that support the adoption of sustainable practices by aquaculture farmers and other players in the production value chain. The quantifiable emissions through this approach can further be integrated with seafood traceability, empowering consumers to make responsible choices.
The path to decarbonisation in the seafood value chain is not a walk in the park. It demands collective action from all stakeholders, such as governments, impact organisations, start-ups, and players across the seafood value chain, to drive this transformative change. With the implementation of climate-tech initiatives, Aquaconnect is making seafood even cleaner and more sustainable.
Indeed, there is a need to stress on the importance of promoting climate-tech initiatives across other animal protein production sectors, as well, so that we can accelerate collective efforts towards achieving net-zero goals. Together, we can create a world where the seafood we savour today is a delight to our taste buds and a symbol of our shared dedication to preserving the planet for future generations.
The author, also know as Raj is Founder CEO - Aquaconnect