Aquaculture To Account For Two Thirds Of Global Fish Supply By 2030

Aquaculture will provide close to two thirds of global food fish consumption by 2030 as catches from wild capture fisheries level off and demand from an emerging global middle class, especially in China, substantially increases. This prediction is one of the key findings of Fish to 2030: Prospects for Fisheries and Aquaculture - a collaboration between the World Bank, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), released late last week. 

According to the FAO, at present 38 percent of all fish produced in the world is exported and in value terms, over two thirds of fishery exports by developing countries are directed to developed countries. The report finds that a major and growing market for fish is coming from China, which is projected to account for 38 percent of global consumption of food fish by 2030. China and many other nations are increasing their investments in aquaculture to help meet this growing demand.

The report predicts that 62 percent of food fish will come from aquaculture by 2030 with the fastest supply growth likely to come from tilapia, carp, and catfish. Global tilapia production is expected to almost double from 4.3 million tons to 7.3 million tons a year between 2010 and 2030.

"The fast-moving nature of aquaculture is what made this a particularly challenging sector to model - and at the same time, embodies the most exciting aspect of it in terms of future prospects for transformation and technological change," said one of the report's authors Siwa Msangi of IFPRI. "Comparing this study to a similar study we did in 2003, we can see that growth in aquaculture production has been stronger than what we thought."

The World Bank's Director of Agriculture and Environmental Services, Juergen Voegele, said the report provides valuable information for developing countries interested in growing their economies through sustainable fish production, though he warns that carefully thought out policies are needed to ensure the resource is sustainably managed.

"Supplying fish sustainably, producing it without depleting productive natural resources and without damaging the precious aquatic environment, is a huge challenge," said Voegele. "We continue to see excessive and irresponsible harvesting in capture fisheries and in aquaculture, disease outbreaks among other things, have heavily impacted production. If countries can get their resource management right, they will be well placed to benefit from the changing trade environment."

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