Mariculture—farming seafood in the ocean—has been expanding in many countries and has the potential to be a critical component of a sustainable global food system. However, it has developed inconsistently across the globe, with minimal development in some regions, while in others intensive growth threatens sustainability. There is no overall understanding of trajectories of mariculture development around the world. We analyse mariculture development trends at the country level, drawing on diffusion of innovation theory. We show that most countries follow predictable patterns of development that are associated with key economic and governance indicators, such as regulatory quality. We also show that production of some taxa (for example, molluscs) is more strongly associated with stable production over time, as is growing a diversity of species. Taken together, our results suggest that enabling policies may unlock mariculture growth opportunities and that strategies that emphasize production of a diversity of species could contribute to a more stable mariculture industry. Further, by assessing each country’s trajectory of mariculture development in relation to its production potential, we consider the limits and opportunities for future mariculture growth and its contribution to sustainable food systems.
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All data used in this paper are publicly available and can be accessed through: http://www.fao.org/fishery/statistics/global-aquaculture-production/en; https://data.worldbank.org/; www.govindicators.org; http://www.doingbusiness.org; and https://doi.org/10.5063/F1CF9N69. Figure 1 uses raw aquaculture production data downloaded from http://www.fao.org/fishery/statistics/global-aquaculture-production/en.
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This work was funded by National Science Foundation grant no. 1759559.
The authors declare no competing interests.
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Gentry, R.R., Ruff, E.O. & Lester, S.E. Temporal patterns of adoption of mariculture innovation globally. Nat Sustain 2, 949–956 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41893-019-0395-y