Net-zero Waves: Decarbonising seafood industry for a sustainable tomorrow

India is proud to have led the “Blue Revolution” which reshaped the seafood industry. Today, our country ranks second in the world in the field of aquaculture, right after China. However, it is much more than just numbers. It is about how seafood production can impact our rural and coastal communities, improving livelihoods and providing employment and entrepreneurship opportunities, helping our rural economy grow.

The global trend of seafood consumption has shifted dramatically in the past decade or so. Today, every second fish on our plate is farmed (as opposed to sea fishing from the ocean). Overfishing and climate change have put marine resources under pressure, and aquaculture has emerged as a viable alternative to fill the gap. The share of aquaculture in the global seafood market has increased. In fact, two out of every three fish consumed today comes from wild farms in India, making aquaculture a sunshine sector and reaffirming India’s position as the world’s largest producer.

way ahead

Although we have made impressive strides, the road ahead is not just about increasing production, as many point out. There is an urgent need for the efficient use of resources and the adoption of sustainability. Our food systems are under severe pressure as the world’s population reaches 8 billion. We need to adopt more efficient and sustainable ways of producing food. Seafood, which meets nearly 20 percent of the global demand for animal protein, plays a pivotal role in this regard. Farmed seafood is a more efficient source of protein with an FCR (feed conversion ratio) of 1:1.2, one of the lowest in meat yield compared to chicken, beef and pork. As we prepare to confront climate change, are we ready to embrace technology for sustainable seafood production?

As a leading global producer of seafood, India is positioned to lead and introduce the next set of innovations to make the sector more sustainable and set the standard. But with the industry growing rapidly, a major challenge today is the lack of transparency in the seafood value chain. Despite being one of the oldest and largest industries, the fisheries and aquaculture sector has yet to fully harness the power of technological advances. Understanding of carbon emissions and their impact on climate change is still emerging due to the lack of effective data collection mechanisms in aquaculture.

Carbon removal leadership

“You can only control things when you can measure them.” This is especially true of the aquaculture industry. Not only will smart technology intervention help improve productivity and efficiency, but it will also help quantify emissions and drive decarbonization efforts. As a leading aquaculture technology company, Aquaconnect is leveraging artificial intelligence and satellite remote sensing to bring transparency, efficiency and predictability to the seafood value chain thus providing market connectivity solutions to stakeholders. Its AI-powered platform derives critical insights from data intelligence—from active planting status and planting duration to identifying patterns and harvest prediction across multiple scales—from the individual pond to the national scale.

Scalable technology capabilities help drive decarbonization efforts in the seafood sector by measuring emissions to identify gaps, scope and important Greenhouse contributors. This also helps in measuring the carbon footprint and gaining the insights necessary to devise strategic countermeasures that support the adoption of sustainable practices by aquaculture farmers and other players in the production value chain. Quantifiable emissions through this approach can also be combined with seafood traceability, empowering consumers to make responsible choices.

The path to decarbonising the seafood value chain is not a walk in the park. It requires collective action from all stakeholders, such as governments, impact organizations, start-ups, and players across the seafood value chain, to drive this transformative change. By implementing climate technology initiatives, Aquaconnect is making seafood cleaner and more sustainable.

Indeed, there is a need to stress the importance of promoting climate technology 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 taste 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 known as Raj is the founding CEO – Aquaconnect