© 2019 Wiley Publishing Asia Pty Ltd Aquaculture production must keep increasing if seafood demand is to be met. This increase in production has substantial impacts on the three pillars of sustainability (i.e. economy, society and environment). To fairly assess the effects that industry has, several tools have been used, mainly theoretical bioeconomic analysis. Even though theoretical models are essential for the assessment of sustainability, the application of econometric models that rely on empirical data to validate the theory proposed is a priority. The objective of this work was to analyse state of the art related to the use of econometric models in aquaculture industry and categorize findings according to their relationship with any of the three pillars of sustainability to promote the implementation of tools that allow balancing growth of the sector with rational use of resources. The study is divided into five sections. First, the introduction describes the current state of aquaculture, difficulties in management and use of econometric models as tools for improving it. Second, the methods used to develop the bibliometric and bibliographic review are described alongside the research questions. Third, the results of the literature review and categorization are proposed according to the sustainability pillars. Fourth, possible new applications of econometric models are discussed to assess sustainability challenges. Finally, a conclusion of the research is provided stating the benefits and challenges of the use of econometric models in aquaculture.