The fish we eat is more likely to come from fish farms than from the wild within 6 years, according to a new UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) report. Farmed fish is expected to exceed the global wild fish catch by 2018.
Fish produced from aquaculture is expected to rise over 33% during the next 10 years, hitting 172 millions tons by 2021. This includes not just fish, but crustaceans, amphibians, aquatic reptiles, sea urchins, and jellyfish.
World fish production associated with aquaculture has risen an average of 8.8% a year for the past 30 years. In the past year, 90.4 million tons of fish were caught and 63.6 million tons were farmed. Around 600 species were farmed in 190 countries, so the practice is pretty much worldwide. Fish farming is growing significantly in countries such as China and Brazil.
Fish consumption is expected to reach 19.55 kilos (43 pounds) per person per year within 10 years. This will be double the amount consumed during the 1960s.
The UN report maintains that, “aquaculture will remain one of the fastest-growing animal food-producing sectors.” The world demand for fish has increased because of the increase in population, combined with the growing awareness that fish is valuable for balanced nutrition and good health. In 2009, fish amounted to 16.6 percent of animal protein consumed by humans.
Have you noticed that more of the fish on offer where you live is from fish farms in recent years?
Image CC licensed by Ivan Walsh: Fish farm, Jian De, Hangzhou, Shanghai