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As the human population continues to increase, there is increasing demand for highquality protein worldwide. Compared to meat sources, fish are widely recognized as being a particularly healthy source of protein. In relation to the world food supply, aquaculture now provides more fish protein than capture fisheries (FAO 2016). Globally, human per capita fish consumption continues to rise at an annual average rate of 3.2% (1961—2013), which is double the rate of population growth. In the period from 1974 to 2013, biologically unsustainable 'overfishing' has increased by 22%. During the same period, the catch from what are deemed to be 'fully exploited' fisheries has decreased by 26%. Aquaculture therefore provides the only possible solution for meeting increased market demand. It is now the fastest growing food sector and therefore an important component of food security (ibid.)
With the global population estimated to reach 8.3—10.9 billion people by 2050 (Bringezu et al. 2014), sustainable development of the aquaculture and agricultural sectors requires optimization in terms of production efficiency, but also reductions in utilization of limited resources, in particular, water, land and fertilizers. The benefits of aquaponics relate not just to the efficient uses of land, water and nutrient resources but also allow for increased integration of smart energy opportunities such as biogas and solar power. In this regard, aquaponics is a promising technology for producing both high-quality fish protein and vegetables in ways that can use substantially less land, less energy and less water while also minimizing chemical and fertilizer inputs that are used in conventional food production.