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Chapter 18 Commercial Aquaponics: A Long Road Ahead

5 months ago

11 min read

Maja Turnšek, Rolf Morgenstern, Iris Schröter, Marcus Mergenthaler, Silke Hüttel, and Michael Leyer

Abstract Aquaponic systems are often designated as sustainable food production systems that are still facing various challenges, especially when they are considered as a commercial endeavour that needs to compete on the market. The early stages of the aquaponics industry have witnessed a number of unrealistic statements about the economic advantageousness of aquaponics. This chapter deals with these topics and discusses them critically. The latest scientific literature and current personal experiences of European commercial aquaponics farmers are taken into account on three levels: The horticulture side of production, the aquaculture side of production and the early data on the market response to aquaponics, emphasising the marketing issues and public acceptance of aquaponics. In summary, the chapter does not provide an "off-the-peg" solution to evaluate the economic performance of a particular aquaponics system. Instead it provides a broad database that enables an estimation of the efficiency of a planned system more realistically, pointing to challenges that the commercial aquaponics early adopters faced that are important lessons for future aquaponic endeavours, particularly in Europe.

Keywords Commercial aquaponics · Aquaponics economic myths · Marketing of aquaponics


Authors Maja Turnšek and Rolf Morgenstern have equally contributed to this chapter.

M. Turnšek

Faculty of Tourism, University of Maribor, Brežice, Slovenia

R. Morgenstern · I. Schröter · M. Mergenthaler

Department of Agriculture, University of Applied Sciences of South Westphalia, Soest, Germany

S. Hüttel

Institute of Food and Resource Economics, Chair of Production Economics, Faculty of Agriculture, Rheinische Friedrichs-Wilhelms Universität Bonn, Bonn, Germany

M. Leyer

Institute of Business Administration, Rostock University, Rostock, Germany e-mail:

© The Author(s) 2019 453

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