Citation Little DC, Newton R & Beveridge MCM (2016) Aquaculture: a rapidly growing and significant source of sustainable food? Status, transitions and potential. Conference on ‘The future of animal products in the human diet: health and environmental concerns’, Symposium 3: Alternatives to meat, Nottingham, 06.07.2015-09.07.2015. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 75 (3), pp. 274-286. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0029665116000665
Abstract The status and potential of aquaculture is considered as part of a broader food landscape of wild aquatic and terrestrial food sources. The rationale and resource base required for the development of aquaculture are considered in the context of broader societal development, cultural preferences and human needs. Attention is drawn to the uneven development and current importance of aquaculture globally as well as its considerable heterogeneity of form and function compared with established terrestrial livestock production. The recent drivers of growth in demand and production are examined and the persistent linkages between exploitation of wild stocks, full life cycle culture and the various intermediate forms explored. An emergent trend for sourcing aquaculture feeds from alternatives to marine ingredients is described and the implications for the sector with rapidly growing feed needs discussed. The rise of non-conventional and innovative feed ingredients, often shared with terrestrial livestock, are considered, including aquaculture itself becoming a major source of marine ingredients. The implications for the continued expected growth of aquaculture are set in the context of sustainable intensification, with the challenges that conventional intensification and emergent integration within, and between, value chains explored. The review concludes with a consideration of the implications for dependent livelihoods and projections for various futures based on limited resources but growing demand.