Protein types

Aquaculture

The most commonly farmed species, salmon and shrimp, are carnivorous, which means they require raw materials made from wild-caught fish in their diets. This links the expansion of aquaculture to depletion of wild fish stocks. Like in other protein production systems, disease presents a risk to aquaculture companies. Use of antibiotics varies widely in aquaculture by region.

Fifteen companies in the Index produce aquaculture products. These companies contribute a total of $56 billion in revenues (18% of the total 2018 revenues for all 60 Index companies). They have a market capitalisation of $48 billion (15% of the total). However, ten of these are pure aquaculture players and five of these companies produce other proteins. For the five that produce other proteins, aquaculture represents a smaller proportion of their revenues. The estimated revenue generated by these five companies from aquaculture is $2.5 billion (or 10% of the total revenues generated by these five companies).

Results

  • On average, fish feed accounts for around 87% of GHG emissions in Atlantic salmon production. However, none of the companies has a Scope 3 emissions-reduction target.
  • Salmon and shrimp production rely on wild fish stocks, yet companies producing multiple proteins are not discussing environmental impacts of feed production. European salmon producers acknowledge the importance of this issue and are disclosing plans to address it.
  • Most companies are in the process of certifying their operations and five of 15 companies are fully certified to at least one scheme, but 60% of Asian multiple protein producers do not disclose any information on this issue.
  • There is a strong regional trend in performance on disease management. Asian producers score the lowest, European producers score the highest.
  • None of the Asian aquaculture companies, both pure-play and multiple protein producers, discloses information on quantity of antibiotics used.

Number of aquaculture companies ranked as high, medium or low risk by factor

Average score across aquaculture companies by factor

Risk factor materiality

 

Risk factor

 

Description
GHG emissions GHG emissions vary widely by species produced. Life-cycle analysis conducted in 2019 suggests farmed Atlantic salmon production is more GHG-intensive than chicken production. Shrimp and prawn production is more emission-intensive than beef production from dairy herds.

 

Deforestation and biodiversity loss Farming of carnivorous species, such as salmon and shrimp, requires the use of fishmeal and fish oil in feed. These ingredients are sourced from wild-caught fish, linking the expansion of aquaculture to depletion of wild fish stocks. Fishmeal and fish oil prices are volatile and production is sensitive to climate risk. Feed producers are innovating to find alternative ingredients, but some of these have other sustainability impacts. For example, replacing fishmeal and fish oil with soy can increase GHG emissions and deforestation risk.

 

Disease management

 

Like in other protein production systems, disease presents a risk to aquaculture companies. The pure-play aquaculture companies disclose much more information on disease management practices than multiple protein producers.

 

Antibiotics Use of antibiotics varies widely in aquaculture. Norway has drastically reduced antibiotic use in salmon production, whereas in Chile it remains high due to prevalence of Piscirickettsia salmonis infection in the region. Data is not readily available for Asian countries, but literature notes their use as ‘widespread’. In 2019, the US refused 26 entry lines of shrimp from India due to the presence of banned antibiotics.