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FEATURE STORY

Raising More Fish to Meet Rising Demand

February 5, 2014

(Photo: Nathan Jones via Flickr; license: CC BY-NC 2.0)

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A new World Bank report estimates that in 2030, 62% of the seafood we eat will be farm-raised to meet growing demand from regions such as Asia, where roughly 70% of fish will be consumed. China will produce 37% of the world’s fish, while consuming 38% of world’s food fish.
  • By producing more seafood that is affordable and rich in nutrition, aquaculture can help improve food security and livelihoods for the world’s poorest.
  • The rise in seafood demand gives countries the opportunity to expand and improve responsible fish and shellfish farming practices.

Nearly two-thirds of the seafood we eat will be farm-raised in 2030. This is according to "Fish to 2030: Prospects for Fisheries and Aquaculture," which concludes that as sources from wild capture fisheries approach their maximum take, aquaculture—or fish farming—will help satisfy the growing global appetite for fish and seafood.

The new World Bank report projects that in 2030, aquaculture will produce half of the world’s supply of fish, including fish for food and other products such as fishmeal.

Meanwhile, 62% of the seafood that will end up on people’s plates will come from fish farms, which will grow production to meet rising demand—especially from Asia, where roughly 70% of fish will be consumed. In 2030, an emerging middle class in China will become a particularly large market for fish. With increased investment in aquaculture, China will produce 37% of the world’s fish and consume 38% of the fish the world eats, the report estimates.

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There is a major opportunity for developing countries that are prepared to invest in better fisheries management and environmentally sustainable aquaculture. Close Quotes

Juergen Voegele, Director, Agriculture and Environmental Services, World Bank Group

Juergen Voegele
Director, Agriculture and Environmental Services, World Bank Group

Making aquaculture sustainable

As the global population inches towards nine billion by 2050, there will be a need for more food and jobs—which a growing aquaculture industry can help meet. But it needs to be practiced responsibly.

The risks and environmental impacts of some aquaculture practices have made headlines in recent years. The disease outbreaks in shrimp aquaculture in China, Thailand and Vietnam and in salmon farming in Chile illustrate some of the industry’s challenges. But the growth of aquaculture also presents countries with the opportunity to expand and improve fish farming so that it is sustainable and environmentally-responsible.

“We continue to see excessive and irresponsible harvesting in capture fisheries, and in aquaculture, disease outbreaks, among other things, have heavily impacted production,” says Juergen Voegele, Director of Agriculture and Environmental Services at the World Bank. “There is a major opportunity for developing countries that are prepared to invest in better fisheries management and environmentally sustainable aquaculture.”

“Aquaculture will be an essential part of the solution to global food security. We expect the aquaculture industry to improve its practices in line with expectations from the market for sustainable and responsibly produced seafood,” says Jim Anderson, Bank Advisor on Fisheries, Aquaculture and Oceans and co-author of the report.

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Aquaculture will be an essential part of the solution to global food security. Close Quotes

Jim Anderson, Co-author and Advisor on Fisheries, Aquaculture and Oceans, World Bank Group

Jim Anderson
Co-author; Advisor on Fisheries, Aquaculture and Oceans, World Bank Group

Responsible aquaculture around the world

Keen to benefit from the economic and environmental advantages of sustainable aquaculture, many countries are helping their communities improve the way they produce fish.

Since May 2012, Vietnam has been working with the World Bank to help fishing communities adopt good fish farming practices to better manage disease and improve waste management. Sustainable aquaculture is also being developed in Ghana, which has begun to establish fish farms in the Volta Lake region.

As the population grows, aquaculture is emerging as one way to satisfy the world’s demand for fish. But a lot of work is needed to improve the way aquaculture is practiced. According to Voegele, “It’s a big challenge, but the World Bank can help developing countries in their efforts to manage their fish production sustainably, through tailored and innovative solutions that work.”

By committing to improved aquaculture practices, countries can deliver nutritious fish to more people while being mindful of environmental impact.

Download the report to learn more about “Fish to 2030: Prospects for Fisheries and Aquaculture.”

Leading experts in environmental economics with the World Bank Group (WBG), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) contributed to this report. The report is an update to an earlier study entitled "Fish to 2020."