The multiplication of fish

Publish date 28-03-2023

by Sandro Calvani

In 2020, global fisheries and aquaculture production reached a record level of 214 million tonnes (nearly 27kg per person), of which 178 million tonnes were aquatic animals and 36 million tonnes were algae, largely due to the growth of aquaculture, especially in Asia. The amount destined for human consumption (excluding seaweed) was 20.2 kg per person, more than double the average of 9.9 kg per person in 1960. An estimated 58.5 million people work in fisheries and , including their families and related industries, some 600 million people support themselves at least in part through fishing and aquaculture. 21% of the workers are women, reaching 50% in related industries, including pre- and post-harvest. In 2020, international trade in these products generated an estimated $151 billion.

In the immediate future, aquaculture has great potential to feed the world's population with low cost, high nutritional value and very low CO2 emission foods. It is essential that this growth go hand in hand with the preservation of ecosystems, the reduction of pollution, the protection of biodiversity and the guarantee of social equity. In recent years Chile, China and Norway have pushed the expansion of sustainable aquaculture production, which has grown in all regions except Africa, due to a decrease in the two main producing countries, Egypt and Nigeria. The rest of Africa has seen growth of 14.5% since 2019. 82.5% of the 2020 catch came from biologically sustainable stocks, an improvement of 3.8% from 2017. Asia continued to dominate world aquaculture, producing as much as 91.6% of the global total. In some countries, including Southeast Asia, many farmers have learned to produce fish and seaweed in pools of water in their fields and know how to desalinate them if they have used them to produce shrimp or other marine products, also selling the salt.

Per capita consumption of aquatic food has grown from an average of 9.9 kg in 1960 to a record high of 20.2 kg in 2020.
Rising incomes and urbanization, improvements in post-harvest practices and changes in dietary trends are expected to lead to a further 15% increase in aquatic food consumption in the coming years.

According to FAO, by 2030 the production, trade and consumption of aquatic food will continue to grow faster than other food sectors and will reach 202 million tonnes thanks mainly to the sustained growth of aquaculture, which should reach 100 million tons for the first time in 2027 and 106 million tons in 2030.

Sandro Calvani
NP January 2023

This website uses cookies. By using our website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Cookie Policy. Click here for more info