Aquaculture production now exceeds capture fisheries

Author: Randall Brummett

Fishery randall


Fish is the main animal protein for more than 1 billion people. Average worldwide fish consumption is about 20 kilograms per person per year. Marine resources are essential to the food security of much of the world’s population and Sustainable Development Goal 14 looks to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources. Monitoring progress toward this goal is paramount but raises substantial challenges.

Capture fisheries have dominated the seafood market until recently. Since the 1980s there has been a rise in aquaculture (fish, shellfish and seaweed farming), which now accounts for more than half of all seafood production. Countries in East Asia dominate capture fisheries and aquaculture production and together account for over 90 percent of global output.

Capture fisheries have generally stagnated since the early 1990s, and many governments have implemented subsidy schemes to protect local fish supplies and employment in the sector. Subsidies to fisheries total approximately $10 billion a year, driving continued fishing despite decreasing catch value and profitability.


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