Fish farms provide half of all world seafood –

Fish farms provide half of all world seafood Published:  29 June, 2011

FISH farms are now providing around half of the world’s seafood, according to a new report.

Aquaculture, which was in its infancy not so many years ago, is responsible for 73 per cent of all salmon and more than 50 per cent of crabs and lobsters.

The report which has been compiled by the World Fish Centre and Conservation International, says that China is the country which is leading the way, followed by Vietnam. Both are large exporters of seafood into the United States.

Mike Phillips, a co-author of the report, said: “Current trends indicate that the majority of the increase in global production will come from South and Southeast Asia, with a continued drive by major producer counties such as China and Vietnam towards export to European and North American markets.”

The World Fish Centre is a non-governmental group that argues global hunger can be reduced through sustainable fishing.

Fish farming has its opponents, especially from the environmental lobby, and the study examined the impact of aquaculture in areas including energy use, acidification and climate change. It also maintained that aquaculture was not as destructive as raising livestock such as cattle and pigs, which places severe strains on land and water use and is a major source of climate change.

Along with carp, the species with the greatest environmental impact include eel, salmon, shrimp and prawn as they are carnivorous, meaning that farms need fish feed – and more energy – from the outside.

The report highlights the fact that many countries, including New Zealand, the United States and nations in Africa, are now substantially increasing the size of their fish farming industries.