Every year 20–30 million metric tonnes of fish, one-third of the global fish catch, is used to produce aquafeeds. This practice is unsustainable and a critical threat to the viability of the global aquafeed industry. Efforts to find alternatives that totally match or improve the cost-effectiveness and nutritional performance of wild fish products, while reducing the burden on the natural environment, have failed, until recently. Now, an innovation using natural marine microbial processes has achieved this goal – a world-first success, improving the sustainability and cost-effectiveness of aquafeeds. The technology uses natural marine microbial processes to bio-convert plant wastes, such as bagasse or rice straw, into a bioactive product (Novacq™) that improves the growth and health of farmed prawns and eliminates the need for any wild harvest fishmeal in prawn feeds. The technology is patented and in full-scale commercial production by several licensees in a number of countries. The development of Novacq™ (an abbreviation of ‘novel aquafeed’ ingredient) is an example of why we need to rethink the way we produce aquafeeds. We need to continue to learn from nature how to produce sustainable aquafeeds and industrialise these processes in costeffective ways.