Scientists, global leaders, and food companies are concerned about how future needs will be met for a growing population. According to a United Nations World Population Prospects report, the global numbers will be at eleven billion people. At current production levels, there will not be enough nutritious food sources to support all the life on the planet. Even today, needs are not being met, although that is not due to lack of food.
Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are being used to increase crop size and number. The problem is the process is depleting the soil and decreasing the nutrition value of the crops. The soil is also being depleted by pollution, climate change, and fracking. There are efforts to grow more food organically, but that is not necessarily profitable.
GMOs are being used in this sector as well. Animals are being altered and created simply to provide meat to the masses. Meat is a traditional source of nutrition, and popular among the majority of people. Growth hormones, questionable treatment practices, and recent outbreaks of bacteria in different meats and poultry are having a devastating effect on this sector. Improvements in sustainability are not likely.
It is this sector of food production that has promise for meeting nutritional needs and volume for the future. Seafood farming is sustainable and meets current demands, but needs to increase production for the future. In an effort to plan ahead, twelve salmon farming companies have formed the Global Salmon Initiative (GSI).
Working together at the pre-competition level, participants share technology, ideas, and discoveries to devise best practices. The current focus is directed toward finding sustainable feed, non-medicinal solutions for preventing and eradicating sea lice, and transparency. Sustainability reports are published and available on the website to inform and educate others in the sector, as well as the general public.
Other benefits listed here pertain to aquaculture advantages over both agriculture and meat production. The feed to food conversation ratios are higher while the use of fresh water is lower and more efficient. The industry produces less demand on arable land and has lower emissions of chemicals into the air. Developments in this sector are exciting and will hopefully encourage other sectors to work together to meet growing needs.