The Future is Fish Farming

By 2030, an additional 37 million tons of fish per year will be needed to maintain current levels of fish consumption for an expanded world population. Because traditional capture fisheries have reached their maximum production levels, fish farming represents the only way to fill the gap. But it will only do so if it is promoted and managed in a responsible fashion.

This was the message the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations gave to a group of the world’s top fisheries authorities gathered in Rome, Italy, for a high level meeting on the contribution of aquaculture to sustainable development.

For a quarter century, fish farming has been the world’s fastest growing food production sector, sustaining an annual growth rate of 8.8 percent since 1970. By way of comparison, livestock production, also considered a growth sector, increased at a rate of just 2.8 percent a year during the same period.

Today, some 45 percent of all fish consumed by humans – 48 millions tons in all – is raised on farms.

By 2030, an additional two billion more people to the world population will mean that aquaculture will need to produce 85 million tons of fish per year just to maintain current per capita consumption levels.

Citing these trends, FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf told the meeting that further development of the aquaculture sector should be a priority for the international development agenda.

December 2007 RENDER | back