Environmental, economic, and social sustainability in aquaculture: the aquaculture performance indicators

Peer Reviewed
19 June 2024

Taryn M. Garlock, Frank Asche, James L. Anderson, Håkan Eggert, Thomas M. Anderson, Bin Che, Carlos A. Chávez, Jingjie Chu, Nnaemeka Chukwuone, Madan M. Dey, Kevin Fitzsimmons, Jimely Flores, Jordi Guillen, Ganesh Kumar, Lijun Liu, Ignacio Llorente, Ly Nguyen, Rasmus Nielsen, Ruth B. M. Pincinato, Pratheesh O. Sudhakaran, Byela Tibesigwa, Ragnar Tveteras


Aquaculture is a rapidly growing food production technology, but significant concerns are related to its environmental impact and adverse social effects. We examine aquaculture outcomes in a three pillars of sustainability framework by analyzing data collected using the Aquaculture Performance Indicators. Using this approach, comparable data has been collected for 57 aquaculture systems worldwide on 88 metrics that measure social, economic, or environmental outcomes. We first examine the relationships among the three pillars of sustainability and then analyze performance in the three pillars by technology and species. The results show that economic, social, and environmental outcomes are, on average, mutually reinforced in global aquaculture systems. However, the analysis also shows significant variation in the degree of sustainability in different aquaculture systems, and the weak performance of some production systems in some dimensions provides an opportunity for innovative policy measures and investment to align sustainability objectives further.

Publication reference
Garlock, T. M., Asche, F., Anderson, J. L., Eggert, H., Anderson, T. M., Che, B., Chávez, C. A., Chu, J., Chukwuone, N., Dey, M. M., Fitzsimmons, K., Flores, J., Guillen, J., Kumar, G., Liu, L., Llorente, I., Nguyen, L., Nielsen, R., Pincinato, R. B. M., … Tveteras, R. (2024). Environmental, economic, and social sustainability in aquaculture: the aquaculture performance indicators. Nature Communications, 15(1). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-024-49556-8
Publication | 4 July 2024