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When more is more: taking advantage of species diversity to move towards sustainable aquaculture

Abstract : Human population growth has increased demand for food products, which is expected to double in coming decades. Until recently, this demand has been met by expanding agricultural area and intensifying agrochemical-based monoculture of a few species. However, this development pathway has been criticised due to its negative impacts on the environment and other human activities. Therefore, new production practices are needed to meet human food requirements sustainably in the future. Herein, we assert that polyculture practices can ensure the transition of aquaculture towards sustainable development. We review traditional and recent polyculture practices (ponds, recirculated aquaculture systems, integrated multi-trophic aquaculture, aquaponics, integrated agriculture-aquaculture) to highlight how they improve aquaculture through the coexistence and interactions of species. This overview highlights the importance of species compatibility (i.e. species that can live in the same farming environment without detrimental interactions) and complementarity (i.e. complementary use of available resources and/or commensalism/mutualism) to achieve efficient and ethical aquaculture. Overall, polyculture combines aspects of productivity, environmental protection, resource sharing, and animal welfare. However, several challenges must be addressed to facilitate polyculture development across the world. We developed a four-step conceptual framework for designing innovative polyculture systems. This framework highlights the importance of (i) using prospective approaches to consider which species to combine, (ii) performing integrated assessment of rearing environments to determine in which farming system a particular combination of species is the most relevant, (iii) developing new tools and strategies to facilitate polyculture system management, and (iv) implementing polyculture innovation for relevant stakeholders involved in aquaculture transitions.
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Contributor : Joël Aubin <>
Submitted on : Friday, April 30, 2021 - 3:59:03 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, September 7, 2021 - 3:59:56 PM



Marielle Thomas, Alain Pasquet, Joël Aubin, Sarah Nahon, Thomas Lecocq. When more is more: taking advantage of species diversity to move towards sustainable aquaculture. Biological Reviews, Wiley, 2021, 96 (2), pp.767-784. ⟨10.1111/brv.12677⟩. ⟨hal-03213785⟩



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