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The judicious use of finite marine resources can sustain Atlantic salmon (salmo salar) aquaculture to 2100 and beyond


The production of farmed Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) is currently linked to finite marine resources, particularly fish oil (FO) and fish meal (FM). Understanding this relationship in a quantitative manner is imperative if this critical balance is to be maintained within sustainable limits as the industry grows. Here we project the potential production and associated growth of the Atlantic salmon aquaculture industry on the basis of a variety of FO and FM utilization scenarios in aquafeed. Reducing FO and FM dietary inclusion to 3% each could permit production growth of 2% per year until the turn of the century (2097 and beyond 2100, respectively), independent of a host of alternatives now being utilized—with three portions of salmon per week providing almost all the recommended weekly long-chain omega-3 fatty acids for human intake. The Atlantic salmon industry’s positive annual growth can continue in an era of finite marine resource availability—without the need for additional finite marine resource inputs.

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Fig. 1: Atlantic salmon production potential under different FO and FM use scenarios.
Fig. 2: FF production and utilization.
Fig. 3: Total production and edible yield of Atlantic salmon and FF.
Fig. 4: Consumption of EPA and DHA via Atlantic salmon.

Data availability

This work used data collected from a variety of sources—both proprietary and freely available. All figures are based on this collected dataset. Source data for Figs. 1, 3 and 4 are provided in Supplementary Data 1.

Code availability

The R code for Figs. 1, 3 and 4 is provided in Supplementary Code 1.


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Authors and Affiliations



D.S.F. and G.M.T. conceptualized the subject. M.M.R. quantified and conducted the analyses, wrote the original manuscript and produced the figures. M.M.R., D.S.F. and T.S.M. contributed to the interpretation and expansion of the subject. M.M.R., D.S.F., T.S.M. and G.M.T. contributed to reviewing and editing the manuscript.

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Correspondence to David S. Francis.

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Nature Food thanks Albert Tacon and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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Supplementary information

Supplementary Information

Supplementary Table 1 and supplementary data and code file names.

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Supplementary Data 1

Statistical source data for Figs. 1, 3 and 4.

Supplementary Code 1

Code for Figs. 1, 3 and 4.

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Rocker, M.M., Mock, T.S., Turchini, G.M. et al. The judicious use of finite marine resources can sustain Atlantic salmon (salmo salar) aquaculture to 2100 and beyond. Nat Food 3, 644–649 (2022).

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