FAO Releases 2012 Aquaculture and Fisheries Report

There are many misconceptions in the public consciousness about the current state of world fisheries and aquaculture.   While there are many complex issues surrounding both of these industries, it is clear that aquaculture continues to play an increasingly important role in the global food supply.    There are several striking facts about the state of the aquaculture and fisheries industries described in “The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2012” report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of The United Nations (FAO).  Here are some excerpts:

  • Fish and Fishery products [including aquaculture] represent 16.6% of total animal protein consumed worldwide.
  • Aquaculture contribution to world food fish production for human consumption was 47% in 2010 compared with only 9% in 1980.
  • The increase in worldwide food fish production (3.2%/yr) over the last 5 years has greatly outpaced population growth (1.7%/yr). Increased per capita food production has mainly been driven by increased aquaculture production from China and improved distribution channels.
  • Asia is by far the leading world aquaculture producer with 89% of total production, 60% of which comes from China alone.
  • United States by comparison produces 0.8% of total aquaculture products but is the second largest consumer of fish per capita at 24 kg. Largest consumer is China at 31.9 kg.
  • Aquaculture production continues to be the fastest growing agriculture sector however the pace has slowed from an annual average of 8.8% from 1980-2010 to an average of 6.3% from 2010-2012.
  • In the most important fishing nations, the share of employment in capture fisheries is stagnating or decreasing while aquaculture is providing increasing opportunities.

 

“Aquaculture is set to remain one of the fastest-growing animal food-producing sectors and, in the next decade, total production from both capture and aquaculture will exceed that of beef, pork or poultry.”

“Promoting sustainable fishing and fish farming can provide incentives for wider ecosystem stewardship. The greening of fisheries and aquaculture requires recognition of their wider societal roles within a comprehensive governance framework. There are several mechanisms to facilitate this transition, including adopting an ecosystem approach to fisheries and aquaculture with fair and responsible tenure systems to turn resource users into resource stewards.”

“It is my sincere hope that this issue of The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture will serve as a useful reference work on the sector – its status, trends, issues and outlook – and that it will contribute to a more complete understanding of the sector’s key role in shaping our world.”

Arni M. Mathiesen
Assistant Director-General
FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department

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