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Fisheries & Aquaculture to Reach 137.8M Tons by 2015

GLOBAL - Global Industry Analysts has released a comprehensive global outlook on the Commercial Fishing Industry. Driven by the growing perception of seafood as an extremely healthy diet featuring less fat, cholesterol and high protein content, coupled with innovations in seafood production/transportation, capture fisheries and aquaculture worldwide is forecast to witness robust growth in the upcoming years.

Aquaculture is one of the fastest growing food industries in the world today and has been the driving force behind the growth in the seafood industry. Fish is considered as a main protein source for over one billion people in developing countries and accounts for nearly 7.5 per cent of the world's food production.

Commercial fishing offers large-scale employment. Several new regulations are mostly combined with international treaties and different fishing allocation schemes including individual fishing quotas, which aim to generate efficiency and restrict the fishing activities.

International markets for fish and seafood products are dominated by high-value aquatic species such as shrimp, tuna, salmon, gadiformes, bream and bass. Several high-volume and low-value species are also traded extensively in large quantities. The species that recorded highest growth rates in the last few years such as tilapia and catfish are chiefly produced for export purposes.

The Pacific Ocean encompasses the largest ocean area for harvesting of fish. The Northwest Pacific represents a key market for commercial fishing activity in terms of productivity, contributing about a quarter of the world's total marine catches. The Southeast Pacific is the second-largest area with prominent species such as Anchoveta, the South American pilchard, and the Chilean jack mackerel. The Western Central Pacific and the Northeast Atlantic together account for a quarter of the total global catch.

Although the market for marine products is growing at a robust rate, production is falling short of soaring consumption levels. The world market for aquatic products is suffering a supply crisis due to rising levels of per capita consumption. As wild captured fisheries cannot meet the future demand for fish, the only option to meet this demand is through aquaculture. The insufficient populace of wild fish to meet the global appetite is forcing aquaculture industry to increase fish farming in order to narrow the gap between demand and supply. Subsequently, aquaculture has registered steady growth since late 1960s. The sector currently accounts for a substantial share in the international food market for fish for human consumption. However, in the upcoming years, sophisticated management of wild fish stocks will result in a continuous supply of species like Pollock, wild salmon, Pacific cod, and halibut.

The worldwide success of farmed fish and shellfish will support the supply and availability of the products. The production of farmed catfish, trout, salmon, and cultured shrimp throughout the world will continue to boost the world supply. The commercial fishing industry is currently dominated by developing countries and this trend is expected to continue in the coming years. The primary reason for this is that contribution by seafood products towards protein consumption is more in developing countries compared to developed countries.

Lucy Towers

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