The rapid development of aquaculture propels the question of the industry’s long-term sustainability across the globe. The pressure to meet the incrementing demand for fish is urging the significance in aquaculture sustainability, mainly since global aquaculture is predicted to overtake capture fisheries production by 2025.

ASEAN, the second-largest aquaculture producer in the world, generated revenues of around $27 billion and produced 13,654 kilo tonnes in 2017. Driven by steady development of industries in Indonesia and Vietnam, the aquaculture production in ASEAN is projected to grow up to 26,700 kilo tonnes in 2022.

“The aquaculture industry in ASEAN is led by countries such as Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand. Key trends observed in ASEAN aquaculture such as land expansion, species diversification, and farming intensification prompt the need for more sustainable practices within the industry,” commented Ms. Ria Imandin, Consultant at Frost & Sullivan.

Despite sustainability policies in the region, lack of financial support and skilled human resources in the industry prompt the policies to be inefficient and ineffective.

The drive for aquaculture sustainability catalyzes the emergence of biotechnology innovations in areas of gene and breeding technology, alternative feeds, animal health management systems, water purifying agents, holding systems, precise harvesting methods, as well as related animal enhancement technology.

“The emergence of technologies in ASEAN aquaculture industry is met with significant adoption barriers due to high cost and lack of knowledge and expertise,” noted Imandin. “However, with government initiatives and partnerships with private entities, we are observing notable practices in countries such as Thailand, Indonesia and Philippines.”

As global marine supplies shrink and ecosystems become increasingly fragile, sustainability will become increasingly important to ASEAN for the aquaculture industry’s longevity. Sustainable aquaculture products also have added value, particularly for exports, which will increase earning potential for countries like Vietnam and Thailand.

A report by Frost & Sullivan, ASEAN Aquaculture Market, Forecast to 2022, projected the aquaculture market in ASEAN to witness growth at CAGR of 5.3% from 2017 to 2022. As the market is expected to continuously grow, participants can stay competitive by seizing the growth opportunities presented in:

  • Increased involvement from the government and private sectors
  • Uptake of biotechnology innovations
  • Strategically implemented sustainability protocols in both environmental and social standpoint
  • Unique selling point in sustainability messaging to increase value, especially in exports

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Frost & Sullivan predicts that the uptake of biotechnology innovations for sustainable aquaculture will increase in the ASEAN region following an upsurge in private sector involvement and knowledge transfer program.

Subarna Poudel is a researcher with Frost & Sullivan. He can be reached at