The investment case for aquaculture innovation


Drivers and growth

Global aquaculture has experienced sustained growth over the last few decades and two strong drivers are likely to support this upward trend: Increasing population growth and protein consumption per capita. These combined with the largely overfished oceans results in an ongoing need for more protein. Due to the superior feed utilisation of aquatic species, aquaculture is in a great position to fill the increasing demand for protein.

Global production,  FAO, 2015 (million tonnes)  

Global production, FAO, 2015 (million tonnes) 



Population by 2050

UN, 2017



Global, annual income growth 2014-2050

PWC, 2015 (Real-term GDP)



Feed used per kg salmon produced

Challenges and impact

Aquaculture’s past growth has resulted in challenges: Increasing farming intensification may result in fish health problems and can impact the farm environment. Higher fish feed demand increases the pressure on natural resources such as fish for fish meal production or land for soybean production. Commodity trading of seafood can result in social challenges.




Increase in global fish consumption per capita 2015-2024

OECD-FAO, 2015



Global aquaculture farm
gate value

FAO, 2016



Global aquaculture CAGR until 2021

Marketline, 2017

No. of aquaculture-related patent submissions

No. of aquaculture-related patent submissions


Innovation and commercialisation

There is a clear need for innovations that reduce operational cost and risk for farmers, while providing sustainable growth for the industry. In recent years a growing interest in aquaculture resulted in more R&D effort, both private and public. The impact of these innovations will depend on the ability to successfully commercialise them over the coming years.



Opportunities for investment


Farm management


Predictive analytics

Interconnected systems

Real-time monitoring

Feeding optimisation

Biomass estimation

Feeding systems

Remotely operated vehicles

Water quality management

Precision tech

New software

Smart equipment

New hardware

Integrated systems

Novel feed ingredients

Alternative plant proteins

Alternative insect proteins

Alternative algal proteins

Alternative microbial proteins


New additives

Raw material processing


New species

Genetic robustness

Growth and feed optimisation

Monosex populations

Health management

New vaccines

Antibiotic replacements

Nutritional optimisation

New drugs

New diagnostic tools


Prevention systems

New production systems



Closed containment at sea

Multitrophic farming



LOCATION: England / Kenya
SECTORS: Feed and Tech

DryGro grows plant based proteins in a novel water and cost efficient production system.


Funding requirement:


Past milestones:

UK pilot build; proof-of-concept

Next milestones:

African pilot; improved product



Fixed Phage

LOCATION: Scotland
SECTORS: Health and Feed

Fixed phage provides a bacteriophage delivery technology to replace antibiotics in aquaculture and extend the shelf-life of packaged foods.


Funding requirement:


Past milestones:

Proof-of-concept, two key partner relationships

Next milestones:

Sign joint development agreements




SECTORS: Health, Feed

Algae based oral vaccine. 


Funding requirement:


Past milestones:

Technical pototype

Next milestones: