“Aquaculture involves the managed reproduction and grow-out of aquatic plants and animals under controlled conditions.”
Aquaculture continues to be the fastest-growing animal food producing sector in the world. In the period 1970 - 2008, aquaculture production increased at an average annual growth rate of 8.3% and currently accounts for nearly half of the world’s seafood supply. Estimated global production of food fish from aquaculture, including finfish, crustaceans, mollusks and other aquatic animals for human consumption, exceeded 52 million tons in 2008.
The Asia–Pacific region continues to dominate the aquaculture sector, accounting for 89% of global production in 2008. Eleven of the top 15 aquaculture-producing countries are in the Asia-Pacific region, with China dominating all countries with 62% of global production.
The top 10 aquaculture producing countries as of 2008 are as follows:
- Viet Nam
With global capture fishery production at maximum yields and faced with a growing population, aquaculture is perceived as the only viable option to increase the global production of seafood. In addition to producing additional supplies of quality seafood protein and improving food security, aquaculture has also made a positive contribution to national, regional, and global economies, and poverty reduction.
Global population is forecast to reach 8.3 billion in 2030. If capture fisheries production remains constant at around 90 million tons in 2008, which is the most likely scenario, the global aquaculture industry will need to produce around 79 million tons by 2030 just to maintain the annual per capita consumption rate of 17.1 kg. In other words, aquaculture will need to produce nearly 29 million tons more per year relative to current levels of production.
Prospects for continued fast growth of the global aquaculture industry are evident, but there are many challenges that must be overcome. If these challenges can be met head-on, the aquaculture industry will continue to gain strength and become the predominant source of seafood for the entire world.
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