Modern fish farms can produce high-quality protein with a very small environmental footprint
For AquaPri, the SDG Accelerator programme has been a welcomed opportunity to leverage the company’s sustainability initiatives for the good of animals, the environment and humanity.
6,000 metric tons. That is the weight of the annual trout production by Danish aquaculture company AquaPri, who operates both land- and sea-based fish farms. In recent years, the company has worked hard to incorporate sustainability throughout the value chain. Although aquaculture is already one of the most resource-efficient forms of animal production, it can easily be made even more sustainable according to AquaPri CEO, Henning Priess: ‘
At AquaPri, we have always felt great responsibility to ensure that our production is carried out on nature’s terms and in the most natural environment possible. By thinking about our entire production from a sustainability point of view, we have identified a number of initiatives that allow us to increase production and at the same time reduce our environmental footprint. This includes increased focus on fish welfare, better purification and recycling of water as well as more natural interaction with the local streams – something we collectively call AquaPri Care.’
For Henning Priess and his staff, animal welfare is of pivotal importance; in fact, it is at the core of the corporate DNA:
‘Fish welfare is always at the top of our priority list. When the fish thrive, they eat better, they are less ill, and thereby need considerably less or no medication at all. We also operate with full traceability throughout the production cycle: from mother fish to eggs and fry and all the way to the full-grown fish. These measures enable us to guarantee an end product that is both ethically and sustainably produced.’
Putting animal welfare at the top of the agenda has not only affected the fish positively but has also had a derived effect on employees, says Henning Priess:
‘People tend to forget that animal welfare is essential for employee wellbeing. I know this from our own employees who look after the stocks on a daily basis. When the fish thrive, they too, feel better. It is quite clear that working with fish welfare has boosted our employee satisfaction. Energy-wise, it has renewed our entire company.’
Alongside the animal welfare efforts, AquaPri has worked hard to reduce the environmental footprint per kilogram fish through production facilities with full water recirculation:
‘Today, we construct facilities where almost 100 per cent of the water is recirculated and recycled. This is the case at our new zander farm in Vejen, Denmark. At the same time, we have made great efforts to reduce our carbon footprint through better utilisation of residual products, improvements in the aquatic environment, feed optimisation and preparations for solar energy. Our ambition is to take as little as possible from nature’s resources and give back as much as possible,’ says Henning Priess.
Generally, Henning Priess believes that there is an enormous untapped potential in aquaculture facilities worldwide:
‘We know from experience that it is possible to triple production without increasing discharge, simply by improving water-purifying systems and by utilizing nitrogen, phosphorus and organic material in a sustainable manner. In a world where proteins are scarce, this is a natural place to allocate resources if we want to make fish farming even more efficient and sustainable.’
‘Participating in the SDG Accelerator programme has helped AquaPri consolidate their various sustainability initiatives and integrate them in a comprehensive sustainability framework, which at the same time clarifies the business potential. Put differently, we can optimise our production by making it more sustainable, which will allow us to produce more tons of sustainably farmed fish within the same regulatory limits’ says Henning Priess:
‘We will gradually have a blueprint for a full sustainability model, called AquaPri Care, which we plan to launch globally. The SDG Accelerator programme has been a huge help, both in piecing the puzzle together and in clarifying the value creation – more and more sustainable fish within the existing discharge levels. Whether these efforts end up as an app, a product or something else, we do not know yet, but we will make sure that the consumers understand that this kind of aquaculture is extremely sustainable. Together we can make a real difference for the planet’s fish.’
Sustainable Development Goals at play
- SDG 12: Responsible consumption and production
- Target 12.2: By 2030, achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources.
This is how AquaPri contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals
- Aquapri has launched a wide range of animal welfare and environmental improvement initiatives to ensure sustainable production in both its land- and sea-based facilities.
- At the same time, the company has developed a sustainability model for aquaculture, AquaPri Care. This model can be introduced to the global markets.
Facts about AquaPri
- Established at the beginning of the 20th century in Glyngøre, Denmark
- Specialises in trout and zander production
- Owned and operated by the Priess family
- Head office in Frederiksværk, Denmark
- Approximately 100 employees