Aquaculture to provide 60% of fish production by 2020: report

Tuesday, 28 August, 2012

Aquaculture will provide 60% of all fish production by 2020, according to new research conducted for Worldwatch’s Vital Signs Online service.

The industry been growing steadily for the past 25 years, and it looks like we’ll need it to continue growing to accommodate our growing population and taste for seafood: human fish consumption has increased 14.4% over the last five years, with consumption of farmed fish growing tenfold since 1970.

While aquaculture may be a way to keep up with increasing demand for fish, it can be implicated in a number of potential problems, such as destruction of land and marine habitats, chemical pollution from fertilisers and antibiotics, lessened fish resistance due to close proximity and intensive farming practices and depletion of wild fish stocks, the report says.

According to the Worldwatch report, aquaculture will need to provide an additional 23 million tonnes of farmed fish by 2020 to maintain current levels of fish consumption. Both the increased demand for fish for consumption and the oceans’ overexploited fisheries will drive growth in aquaculture.

But, the report warns, “Continually increasing fish production, from both aquaculture and fisheries, raises many environmental concerns … policymakers, fishers and consumers need to find alternative sources for fish feed, combat illegal fishing, encourage more sustainable practices in aquaculture, acknowledge the potential effects of climate change on oceans and think critically about what and how much fish to consume.”

To read the report, Aquaculture Tries to Fill World’s Insatiable Appetite for Seafood, click here.

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