Marine Cusa, Ph.D.


Marine Cusa, Ph.D.

Improving the transparency and sustainability of fish feed in Europe

Aquaculture, or the farming of aquatic animals, is often recommended by international development organizations as a means to meet rising demand for one of the most traded food commodities: seafood. However, due to consumer tastes, most of the finfish aquaculture sector in Europe is devoted to farming carnivorous fish such as salmon. These species are typically fed diets that must include some amount of fish meal or fish oil often made from other small wild-caught fish. The rapid development of new fisheries to target these so-called forage fish stocks, and the general lack of adequate traceability and regulation in fish feed production, compromise aquaculture producers’ sustainability efforts and threaten certain forage fish species, which play a vital role at the base of marine food webs.

Marine Cusa will use genetic tools to improve transparency and sustainability in European aquaculture by shedding new light on the forage fish that the sector consumes. Working with scientists, journalists, and representatives from conservation organizations, she will identify the major European fish-feed suppliers and collect samples for analysis. Cusa will optimize a genetic technique used to identify species from highly processed products, such as fish meal, which she will use to examine the composition of diets used in aquaculture and draw conclusions on these products’ sourcing and sustainability. To improve transparency throughout the sector, she will develop and test a specialized DNA-based species identification tool, which will enable aquaculture producers, regulators, and others to rapidly and cost-effectively identify key forage fish species in fish-meal products.

To learn more about Cusa, read her bio.

See the full list of 2024 Pew marine fellows.

A woman holds a pipette in one hand while looking at the test tube in her other hand. She is sitting at a wooden desk with additional test tubes, a laptop, and various other items in front of her.
Marine Cusa uses genetic tools to investigate the shark trade in Indonesia.
Bruno Cusa

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