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: governance, disease, feed and seed issues must be tackled. 

IDH aims to improve the sustainability of the aquaculture sector through tackling the following four bottlenecks. First, the sector seems to be restricted by a lack of central governance. The aquaculture sector is diverse – compare a smallholder Indonesian shrimp farmer with a large-scale Norwegian salmon producer- and the presence of a variety of certification schemes and government regulations add to this fragmentation.

Second, the main supply chain risks are related to health management. It is not uncommon that a disease outbreak hits the entire sector of a country. Disease risks may be avoided through cooperation among neighbors and through a data-driven approach. Neighboring farmers that share the same water resources do not by definition cooperate, although they might influence one another’s fish health through the water. And data that are already available within the supply chain that might hint towards the cause of a disease, are not always used to develop and adjust effective production practices.

Third, fish feed is not always sustainable. The feed can have a negative impact since an ingredient might be related to for example illegality, such as illegal labor practices; illegal caught wild fish or illegally cut rain forests.

And lastly, systemic constraints  in the sub-Saharan aquaculture sector hinder investments that could unlock the production potential.

IDH aims to improve the sustainability of the aquaculture with regard to these issues through the interventions of the aquaculture program.

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Relevant SDGs

  • Responsible Consumption and Production
  • Life Below Water
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.

Technology and data

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. 

Previous Projects in Aquaculture

ASC shrimp certification
Gulf of Fonseca, Honduras
Aceh Zonal Management & Micro Credit
Aceh: Zonal Management & Micro credits
ASC shrimp certification
Rio Guayas, Ecuador

Facts & Figures

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

    Target 2020 13.65
    Target 2017 2
    Results 2017 1.64
  • Number of producers/workers/community members trained

    Target 2020 30.000
    Target 2017 1.000
    Results 2017 2.377
  • Number of hectares where trained practices are applied

    Target 2020 25.000
    Target 2017 4.000
    Results 2017 16.972


Initiatives in Aquaculture


Title Type Year
Investment Guideline for Sustainable Aquaculture in Indonesia 2018 Report 2018
IDH launches Call for Proposal to achieve higher efficiency of tropical aquaculture Article 2018
Application Template FIT Fund Roadmap 2017
FIT Fund Prospectus Roadmap 2017
Aquaculture Infographic Factsheet 2017

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


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