Oceans' future to 2050

Marine Aquaculture Forecast

Explore how and where marine aquaculture production will develop and meet growing demand through to 2050

New production technologies gain traction

We forecast growth in the use of new production technologies for fish farming. Towards 2050, high-value finfish species like salmon will increasingly be farmed in offshore structures or in closed containment systems in the sea or on land. These trends are driven by lower production costs, following initial investments enabled by favourable incentive schemes.

The predicted growth in marine aquaculture production comes with increasing pressure on coastal and nearshore production sites, where the industry already faces competition from other uses and threatens biodiversity. At the same time, the oceans provide ample space for increasing food production. If this can happen further from shore in an environment characterized by deeper water, higher waves, and more severe winds. Efforts to intensify production of several high-value species are underway worldwide.

Several technology trends will contribute to efficiency gains possible in marine aquaculture. The continued focus on genomics and development of new vaccines will be important enablers for ensuring a robust fish population, better suited for their environment. Digitalization, including improved monitoring and decision support, enables improved production control, with advantages ranging from fish welfare to product quality. Automating operations decreases the need for manning on fish pens, reducing operating costs and improving safety. Development of closed containment systems for sheltered water will also increase the production efficiency and reduce the environmental impact. Among trends with potential to improve the efficiency of marine aquaculture, we focus our analysis on the impact of new production facilities offshore and onshore.

The use of new production technologies for finfish is gaining market share

Graph: Globally installed finfish production capacity. Download the report for the full graph.

We forecast a shift towards more technically advanced systems for high-value species of finfish between now and 2050, with production moving both offshore and onshore.

The Marine Aquaculture Forecast to 2050 explores technology developments including: 

  • Fish farming moving offshore
  • Fish farming moving onshore
  • Industrialized seaweed production 
We also consider how cost-competitive new production technologies will become, including analysing cost-learning curves. We forecast the costs per kilogram for offshore and onshore fish farming in the coming years.

Dive deeper: download the full Marine Aquaculture Forecast

PDF, 46 pages