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Thursday, February 07, 2013

Fish Stories Part 2: World Aquaculture Background

The UN's Food and Agricultural Organization reports at Fisheries and Aquaculture:
Fish harvest in China -Courtesy of FAO Aquaculture Photo Library
Aquaculture, probably the fastest growing food-producing sector, now accounts for nearly 50 percent of the world's food fish.
The two leading aquaculture nations are China and India.

Naturally, there are concerns that aquaculture (both inland (freshwater) and "mariculture"(ocean/littoral) be conducted in an environmentally sustainable/responsible/friendly manner - as the World Wildlife Foundation argues in the following video:

As set out in FAO's THE STATE OF WORLD FISHERIES AND AQUACULTURE 2012 (pdf),at number page 3, Asia accounts for 2/3 of fish consumption with Africa last on that list. From that same reference:
Bangladesh Carp Harvest -Courtesy of FAO Aquaculture Photo Library
"Capture" refers to non-farmed fish. Inland refers, essentially, to freshwater fish, marine to saltwater fish.

A couple of other important tables from the FAO 2012 report:

India Fish Harvest- Courtesy of FAO Aquaculture Photo Library
China, India, Vietnam,Indonesia, Bangladesh, and Thailand lead the world, with China far out in front. Norway is the sole Western nation in the top ten.

The leading fish produced in China, India and Bangladesh are varieties of carp, often considered a "trash" fish in Western cultures:
Production of freshwater fishes has always been dominated by carps (71.9 percent,24.2 million tonnes, in 2010). Among carps, 27.7 percent are non-fed filter-feeders and the rest are fed with low-protein feeds. Production of tilapias has a wide distribution, and 72 percent are raised in Asia (particularly in China and Southeast Asia), 19 percent in Africa, and 9 percent in America. Viet Nam dominates production of omnivorous Pangasius catfishes although there are other producers, such as Indonesia and Bangladesh. World production of Pangasius catfish may be understated
because booming production in India has yet to be reflected in statistics. In 2010, Asia accounted for 73.7 percent of the production of other catfish species, America took its share to 13.5 percent (with channel catfish production), leaving 12.3 percent of production in Africa (dominated by North African catfish). Carnivorous species such as perches, basses and snakeheads accounted for only 2.6 percent of all freshwater fish produced in 2010.

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