The aquaculture industry is rapidly growing with fish produced by aquaculture nearly equalling the amount of capture fish. Aquaculture production has reached 82.1 million tonnes in 2018 (FAO), growing at 7.5 percent per year since 1970. It is thought that developing countries will drive major changes and the expansion in fisheries and aquaculture production, its trade and consumption. The global growth in fish production will be driven by an increase in aquaculture output since the amount of capture fish is generally static. In 2018, aquaculture accounted for 46 percent of the total fish production and 52% of fish for human consumption. Aquaculture production is projected to reach 109 million tonnes in 2030, an increase of 32% (26 million tonnes) over 2018 (FAO - 2020 SOFIA report). 

Fish Farm

The graph below illustrates the world fisheries and aquaculture production. 

Aquaculture Production

(Source: FAO - 2020 SOFIA report)

Regional breakdown

The FAO states that production of farmed fish is dominated by Asia (89% of the global total in volume terms in the last 20 years). Over the same period, the shares of Africa and the Americas have increased, while those of Europe and Oceania have decreased slightly (Source: FAO - 2020 SOFIA report).

The table below show the 15 countries that produced 92.7 percent of all farmed food fish in 2012 (FAO: The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture, 2014):

Farmed food fish production table

Aquaculture feed

Fishmeal and fish oil are important ingredients in aquaculture feed. As stated in FAO's 2020 SOFIA report, "fishmeal and fish oil are still considered the most nutritious and most digestible ingredients for farmed fish, as well as the major source of omega-3 fatty acids (eicosapentaenoic acid [EPA] and docosahexaenoic acid [DHA])." 

The production of fishmeal is about 5 million tonnes each year. A growing share of fishmeal and fish oil is being produced from fish by-products: "It is now estimated that these by-products are used to produce up to 25–35 percent of the total volume of fishmeal and fish oil, but regional differences exist". (FAO's 2020 SOFIA report). Aquaculture production will be able to expand because of improved efficiency in the use of fishmeal and its specialised uses.

Information on fishmeal and its use in aquaculture can be found in the articles below:

    Fishmeal and Fish Oil and its role in Sustainable Aquaculture Publication: Andrew Jackson, International Aquafeed, 2012, September/October, p18-21
    How much whole fish does aquaculture consume? (Only in Spanish) Publication: Andrew Jackson and Francisco Aldon, InfoPesca International, 2012, 49, p24 - 27
    Is Fishmeal for Aquaculture Sustainable? Publication: Andrew Jackson, IFFO versus Willie McKenzie, Greenpeace, The Longliner, Issue 3, p10
    Connections between farmed and wild fish: Fishmeal and fish oil as ingredients in sustainable aquaculture Publication: Andrew Jackson and Jonathan Shepherd, Advancing the aquaculture Agenda: Workshop Proceedings, 2010, p 331 - 343
    Fishmeal, Fish oil - Prime feed ingredients not limiting factors for responsible aquaculture Publication: Andrew Jackson, Global Aquaculture Advocate, 2010, January/February, p14-17
    The continuing demand for sustainable Fishmeal and Fish oil in aquaculture diets Publication: Andrew Jackson, International Aquafeed, 2009, September/October, p 28 - 32
    European Aquaculture Society - Fish In - Fish Out Ratios explained Publication: Andrew Jackson, Aquaculture Europe, 2009, Vol 34 (3), p5 - 10
    How much fish to produce 1 Kg of salmon?- Fish In - Fish Out (FIFO) Ratios explained Publication: Andrew Jackson, Aquaculture Europe, 2009, Vol 34 (3), p 5 - 10
    Fishmeal "still best" Publication: Andrew Jackson, Fish Farming International, 2008, September, p 32-33
    Fishmeal and fish oil - will they limit the development of aquaculture? Publication: Andrew Jackson, Feed Technology Update, 2007, Vol 2, Issue 1
    The importance of Fishmeal and Fish oil in aquaculture diets Publication: Andrew Jackson, International Aquafeed, 2006, November/December, p16 - 19
    Protein Supply Balance FIN document 2007
    Effect of Different Dietary Protein and Oil Levels in Diet on Growth of Tilapia Comparison of Aquaculture Grade (South American) and Locally Produced Fish Meals. Research Report 1998-9
    The role of fishmeal in diets for salmonids Technical Bulletin TB24 1990
    The role of fish oil in feeds for farmed fish Technical Bulletin TB25 1990