So predicts the Agricultural Outlook 2023-2032, which provides an annual assessment of prospects agricultural commodity markets in the decade ahead, and was published today by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
The report’s authors expect total global seafood production to increase to 202 million tonnes per year by 2032, up from 181 million tonnes in 2020-2022. Ninety-six percent of that additional growth will be due to increasing aquaculture production, which is projected to reach 111 million tonnes per year by 2032.
This would represent a reduction compared to the 33 million tonne increase in the previous 10 years. According to the report, this is because China, the world’s biggest aquaculture producer, is projected to experience a significant reduction in growth, largely due to regulations aimed at increasing the sustainability of the sector.
In terms of species, the proportion of carp – the most produced farmed fish species group – is expected to decline over the period. This represents the continuation of a downward trend that started in the late 1990s and corresponds, particularly in China, to the diversification of production, largely in response to local demand.
Meanwhile the proportion of shrimps and prawns is projected to increase, while the shares of tilapia and salmonids will remain broadly stable.
Fish prices are forecast to decline by 9.0 percent, in marked contrast to the 13 percent growth in real terms in the previous decade.
Fish oil prices are expected to decline in real terms by 14 percent, while fishmeal prices which are only set to decline by 0.6 percent in real terms, due to ongoing tight supplies and strong demand.
Risks and uncertainties
According to the report, the biggest challenges facing aquaculture will be “climate-driven changes in temperature, precipitation, ocean acidification, incidence and extent of hypoxia and sea level rise, availability of wild seed, as well as reducing precipitation leading to increasing competition for freshwater”.
“The impacts of climate change will not be evenly distributed, with larger changes expected in tropical regions when compared to temperate zones,” it adds.