Production in aquaculture accounted for 53% of the fish consumed in 2016


Production in aquaculture accounted for 53% of the fish consumed in 2016

Aquaculture is the set of techniques and activities for breeding both salt water and fresh water fish and molluscs. In 2016, 53% of the fish consumed came from these fish farms.

The FAO (the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization) is responsible for undertaking these evaluations and for controlling which species are consumed.

There are approximately 700 species raised using aquaculture compared to the thousands caught by normal fishing methods, and it should be borne in mind that studies undertaken and data collected from the more than 92 countries devoted to 96% of the global fish production have revealed that approximately 200 declining species have been found to be related to fish that are bred in captivity.

Some 200 species have been introduced in areas where they are not native, where the report reveals that it is a wild species cultivation area; and there the best genetic technology comes into play in the selection process to see which species are the best.

The director of the FAO explained the process and the global factors that modify the status of a species. He stressed that climate change or the difference of inhabitants in a population were a cause for this, together with the introduction into fish farms of invasive species that modify the ecosystem, or the heavy impact of parasites and pathogens.

Although this is currently being controlled and the systems introduced are proving effective, new methods are needed to improve the preservation of certain species. There are certain populations that are being clearly affected by the unstoppable effects of climate change, and some experts even suggest that it might be a good idea to perform gene exchange as a possible solution.

Other experts also say that we should continue studying the biodiversity of these native species, since we know less about them than we think. Research into these species raised using aquaculture or in their natural habitat could be conducted privately or in universities, to gain as much information as possible in order to halt this decline.

80 million tonnes of the fish consumed in 2016 were produced in aquaculture. This is a little more than half of the total fish consumed, and although the 10% increase seen in the 1980s and 1990s has now slowed down, it will continue to increase, above all in places like Africa.

Just 40 years ago, 90% of farmed fish were cultivated at biologically sustainable levels and only 10% at unsustainable levels. This does not mean that no progress has been made. On the contrary, it has been growing little by little, but rather that the FAO is pressing for the control of illegal fishing or of the destruction of fish. It is pushing for the expansion of management plans, with scientific studies aimed at restoring fish populations.

In short, not all countries have played fair when it comes to fishing, and the overfishing that has taken place has created the imbalance that exists today, and this is precisely what needs to be halted.