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Editor's Note: Farmed fish is the future

Fiona Robinson, Associate Publisher, Editor
Fiona Robinson, Associate Publisher/Editor
December 05, 2011

It’s not often you get a bunch of executives in one room to contemplate the lofty task of feeding seafood to the world’s burgeoning population. However, presenters at the Global Outlook for Aquaculture Leadership (GOAL) conference last month in Santiago, Chile, challenged attendees to consider doubling global farmed seafood production in a decade, responsibly. Each conference presenter addressed different requirements to meet this need, such as financial investments, steps to mitigate environmental and disease risks inherent with increasing farmed production and the fishmeal and fish oil market necessities.

Readers may ask, “Why bother?” Look no further than the announcement in the end of October that the global population had reached 7 billion people. How on earth will all of these people be fed a healthful protein? Consumers worldwide eat much more seafood than Americans, and considering more than 85 percent of the U.S. seafood supply is imported, there will likely be increased pressure to ship seafood to other countries with higher demand, such as China.

China was the elephant in the room during many GOAL discussions. That country’s seafood consumption is estimated to increase 40 percent by 2020, according to Ricardo Garcia, CEO of Camanchaca, one of Chile’s largest seafood companies (he was quoting K.B. Lindkvist et al./Marine Policy). So how will all seafood-producing nations be able to feed their own populations and China? Clearly, farmed seafood will be an increasing necessity in the future.

Aquaculture will account for 50 percent of the total world seafood production by 2030, and 60 percent of aquaculture production will be fish for human consumption, according to a new study from the World Bank, “Fish 2030.” Jim Anderson, a fisheries economist with the World Bank and a professor at the University of Rhode Island, unveiled preliminary numbers from the study, which predicts global wild and farmed seafood production will reach 180 million metric tons by 2030.

Faced with these daunting population and production numbers, it’s no wonder the conference leaders chose the “Double in a Decade — Responsibly” theme. Within all of the discussions, the charge of responsibility was not lost. This message from Camanchaca’s Garcia is one to keep repeating: “Growth is not enough. We have to be responsible for the next generations. We need sustainable growth.”

December 2012 - SeaFood Business 

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