Aquaculture is the fastest growing animal food production industry in the world outpacing the combined growth rate of poultry and livestock by more than three times over the past 40 years. A number of important aquaculture trends are emerging, including:
- Global seafood market is more than $400 Billion
- US imports 91% of its seafood which results in a massive trade deficit ($95 Billion)
- China and Southeast Asia have increased control of aquaculture supply including over 88% of global production
- Increased interest in locally sourced and sustainable food products
- Growing role of biotechnology and other technologies in the aquaculture value chain
North Carolina is well positioned to take a leadership role in the development of aquaculture business and technology. A combination of strong university systems, existing aquaculture businesses, a seafood/agriculture history, an available workforce, and advanced biotechnology businesses are all foundational elements for aquaculture innovations and growth. These include: marine biotechnology (e.g. disease diagnostics, broodstock genetics, optimized feed, fish-oil alternatives, hatchery technology, water quality, waste and pollution remediation etc.), seafood processing (e.g. food safety testing, processing technologies, and value-added products), distribution and many more.
MBCOI is working with economic development organizations and private industry to assess the economic impact of an aquaculture business park and development center for NC. We believe the establishment of a multi-tenant aquapark will catalyze innovation in the aquaculture sector and stimulate investment in aquaculture and related businesses such as hatcheries and grow-out, seafood processing, aqua-feed, waste bioprocessing and aqua-animal health, including the service industries which support them. For further information on the Aquapark, please download the fact sheet here.