Nearly 50% of all fish we consume is farmed fish. Aquaculture is an important source of high protein food for people worldwide. For aquaculture to become a sustainable option for ensuring food security, disease and feed  issues must be tackled. 

Diseases result in loss of income, waste of inputs, water pollution and irresponsible practices like the excessive use of antibiotics. Diseases hamper producers to think long term, as disease occurrence threatens their long-term business. As a result, investors are reluctant to make long term (sustainable) investments.

Feed is most often the biggest cost in aquaculture production, but it is often used inefficiently. Feed often consists of marine ingredients such as fish oil and fish meal, which may be caught through illegal, unreported and unregulated practices (such as overfishing or illegitimate labor practices on vessels).

Since 2010 IDH is orchestrating change towards responsible aquaculture. We co-founded the ASC together with WWF and accelerated ASC certification. We upgraded 630.000 MT, an equivalent of 250 Olympic swimming pools, of shrimp, pangasius and tilapia production towards sustainability.


Building on experiences with our landscape and commodity programs we are developing  aquascapes. A geographical area where aquaculture farmers are connected through proximity, jurisdiction or by using the same water.

In these aquaculture areas, we improve production by strengthening partnerships as to develop joint strategies that tackle diseases and feed-related issues. We organize cooperation between (e.g.) producers, input suppliers, service providers and local governments and in the supply chain with traders, brands and retailers. We support innovation by promoting the use of technology and data to increase sector efficiency, traceability and transparency.

By strengthening partnerships and innovation we can reduce production risks, hence attracting investments. Together with financial institutions we can share risks and increase the profitability of an aquascape.

At the same time we encourage market recognition of better aquaculture areas, leading to Verified Sourcing Areas which enable buyers to effortlessly source sustainable products.

Listen to our podcast

Relevant SDGs

  • Responsible Consumption and Production
  • Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • Life below water
  • Partnerships for the Goals
Impact claims

Impact claim 1

IDH will contribute to improving the sector’s risk level by supporting a global, multi-stakeholder platform leading to a reduction in adverse environmental aquaculture farming practices by 2020. The platform will operate through the development and adoption of sourcing guidelines (including specific feed and health management best practices) for aquaculture certification and improve­ment models.

Impact claim 2

IDH will contribute to the development of a proof of concept for improved on-farm feed and disease risk mitigation strategies and market access. We will do this by supporting the implementation of responsible feed and health man­agement best practices in the focus countries (Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, and Ecuador).

Impact claim 3

IDH will trigger investments in critical bottlenecks (availability, affordability, and quality of feed and seed supply) to aquaculture production in Africa, with a focus on responsible health and feed management practices (as defined under impact claim 2) by 2020. 

Our approach: Aquascapes

IDH orchestrates change towards responsible aquaculture. Building on our experiences with our landscape and commodity programs, as well as on our network in the sector, we develop so called aquascapes, where by strengthening collaboration and the adoption of technology we attract investments.


Tropical aquaculture is one of the most fragmented sectors, with thousands of companies involved with production, trading and retailing of fish products. We therefore strengthen collaboration as to develop joint strategies that tackle diseases and feed-related issues. We target collaboration both horizontally (e.g. between producers, between public and private sectors, with input suppliers etc.) and vertically (i.e. leveraging the market pull of front running traders and retailers).

Our activities may include the development and implementation of disease surveillance and control plans, knowledge sharing and the development of better practices to be adopted at the sector (rather than at farmer) level. In countries where aquaculture is not yet a fully developed, we promote collaboration as to strengthen distribution networks for the domestic and regional market.


There is huge variability in production and fish survival (most often with 2 percent digit fluctuation) and the causes of this variability are often poorly understood. We therefore support the sector’s professionalisation by promoting the use of technology and data to increase sector efficiency, traceability and transparency. As a result, producers can understand and mitigate disease risks, as well as improve their input efficiency, by understanding what influence inputs (e.g. feed, seed, antibiotics) have on their yields. Producers and traders can also use technology to increase transparency and accountability towards their (end) buyers.


Very few financial institutions are prepared to invest in aquaculture because of the risks and the lack of track record. We unlock access to finance to producers by attracting financial institutions into our aquascapes as to understand and quantify risks and risk mitigation pathways.


We link the market to our projects, and we encourage market recognition of better aquaculture areas, leading to Verified Sourcing Areas which enable buyers to effortlessly source sustainable products.

Projects in Aquaculture


Facts and Figures

  • Private sector (sustainability) investments (in million euro)

    Target 2018 1
    Result 2018 0.272
    Cumulative target 2020 13.65
    Cumulative result 2016-2018 8.24
  • Number of producers/workers/community members trained on key subjects for sustainable production, environmental and social sustainability

    Target 2018 1.000
    Result 2018 800
    Cumulative target 2020 30.000
    Cumulative result 2016-2018 27.782
  • Farmland area where trained practices are applied

    Target 2018 500
    Result 2018 600
    Cumulative target 2020 25.000
    Cumulative result 2016-2018 33.273


Initiatives in Aquaculture


Title Type Year
Aquaculture Program in Haiti Brochure 2019
Aquaculture Program in Mozambique Brochure 2019
ToR on successful approaches for data-driven decision making by Asian farmers Terms of Reference 2019
Aquaculture Program in Indonesia Article 2019
Aquaculture Program in Ecuador and Latin America Article 2019

Contact us for more information

Feed conversion rates of fish are lower than that of cattle because fish floats and cattle walks making responsibly farmed fish a great source of high protein food

Partners we work with in aquaculture


Your browser is too old to optimally experience this website. Upgrade your browser to improve your experience.