With global demands for fish continuing to climb, especially in more affluent nations, food processors are going to have to turn to commercial aquaculture farms to meet demand, according to a Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report. The report calls for global and national policies to be put in place to cater for the growing appetite for fish.
It estimates that an additional 40 million tons of aquatic food will be required by 2030 — just to maintain current levels of consumption.
Wild fish stocks are in poor condition to meet any further increase in demand. Of the nearly 600 wild fish species the UN monitors, 52 per cent are considered fully exploited while 25 percent are overexploited, depleted or recovering from depletion.
Aquaculture has been booming since the mid-1980s, sustaining an annual growth rate of 8 per cent and today provides nearly half the fish consumed by humans worldwide. However, there is doubt that the industry can expand sufficiently to meet future shortfalls in the demand for human food and livestock feed.
Issues facing the aquaculture industry include a lack of investment capital for producers in the developing world and the shortage of land and freshwater for use in aquaculture. In addition, there continues to be the need for investigation into the environmental impacts and questions of the product safety of fish farming. Future supplies of fishmeal and oil used to feed carnivorous cultured fish species need to be secured as well.
Source: Food Production Daily