Picture Credit: IFPRI website
Although it's not the most popular of industries, aquaculture is one of the fastest growing industries in the world when it come to food production. Aquaculture is immensely important for a number of reasons, some of which being food and nutritional security and livelihoods. The industry employs approximately 20 million people globally. The role aquaculture plays in food systems becomes more prominent by the day; it is, after all, a $243 billion industry.
Factors like the rising incomes, urbanisation, dietary changes and such have increased the global consumption of aquatic foods. Analysts predict that the future will be no different. Consumption of aquatic foods is projected to show a further increase of 15% by 2030. The Nature Conservancy’s global lead for aquaculture, Robert Jones, stated; “Aquaculture is the fastest growing form of food production in the world”,” And we’re at the very beginning of this industry.”
While Aquaculture is segregated to freshwater and saltwater, and, in the past, the number of farmed fish was almost negligible, recent data from the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation show that the proportion of farmed fish compared to the wild-caught fish has grown to a 52% of all fish consumed. By 2020, the global aquaculture production had expanded greatly all over the world, lead by Chile, China and Norway. The total production of fisheries and aquaculture reached a record of 214 million tonnes in 2020, earned largely due to the growth in aquaculture, mostly in Asian countries.
Picture Credit: Global Seafood Alliance website
China is considered the world’s biggest fisheries subsider and largest contributor to the aquaculture production, being responsible for one third of all fish production worldwide, earning the title of world leader in both fishery exports and imports. By 2019, China accounted for 60% of all global aquaculture production. Aquaculture is a prioritised industry in China due to the fact that, aquaculture has a higher economic value than livestock industry because of their high-quality protein and relatively low production costs. Like the rest of the world, China has also experienced an increase in an expansion in aquaculture output during the past few decades, producing an impressive 65.49 million tonnes in 2020.
Looking to the future, demand for aquatic products are predicted to increase, with increased per-capita food demand, both quality and quantity wise, will no doubt further drive up the need for China to produce more aquaculture production. According to studies and forecasts, the total aquaculture demand, and therefore the production, is predicted to grow up to approximately 100 million tonnes by the time 2035 comes around.
In correspondence to speeding up the domestic production (freshwater and offshore), China is also actively outspreading its capability to outsource the increasing demand. As experts say, since the significance of aquaculture in food systems is so vast, preserving the permanence of the industry is vital to the future, any disruption to the industry may result in a global food crisis. Will China be able to withstand the pressure of the increasing demand?
August 15th 2022 | 9:30 AM