Sustaining fish supplies from capture fisheries will, therefore, not be able to
meet the growing global demand for aquatic food.
At present, the aquaculture sector contributes a little over 40 million tonnes (excluding aquatic plants)
to the world aquatic food production. According to recent FAO predictions, in order to maintain the
current level of per capita consumption at the minimum, global aquaculture production should reach
80 million tonnes by 2050. Aquaculture has great potential to meet this increasing demand for aquatic
food in most regions of the world. However, in order to achieve this, the sector (and aqua-farmers)
will face significant challenges.
A major task ahead for sustainable aquaculture production will be to develop approaches that will increase the contribution of aquaculture to the global food supply. These approaches must be realistic and achievable within the context of current social, economic, environmental and political circumstances. Accurate and timely information on the aquaculture sector is essential in order to evaluate the efficacy of these approaches and how they can be improved.
Under the FAO Fisheries Departments current work programme, the Inland Water Resources and Aquaculture Service (FIRI) of the Fishery Resources Division, using a wide-ranging consultative process, regularly conducts reviews on the status and trends in aquaculture development (FAO Fisheries Circular No. 886 Review of the State of World Aquaculture and FAO Fisheries Circular No. 942 Review of the State of World Inland Fisheries). The last review (both regional and global) was conducted in 1999/2000 and was published following the Global Conference on Aquaculture in the Third Millennium held in Bangkok, Thailand, in 2000 (NACA/FAO, 2001, Aquaculture in the Third Millennium). These reviews are seen as important milestones and the documents produced are recognized as significant reference materials for planning, implementing and managing responsible and sustainable aquaculture development worldwide.
As part of this continuing process and with the current objective of preparing a global aquaculture development status and trends review, FIRI had embarked on a series of activities. These are:
- National Aquaculture Sector Overviews NASOs in all major aquaculture producing countries in the world;
- five regional workshops to discuss the status and trends in aquaculture development in Asia and the Pacific, Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, Near East and North Africa, and sub-Saharan Africa; and
- seven regional aquaculture development status and trends reviews in Asia and the Pacific, Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, Near East and North Africa, North America, sub-Saharan Africa and Western Europe.
The aquaculture industry in North America is a relative newcomer in the agricultural sector and has
become well established in the last 25 years. Channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) and Atlantic
salmon (Salmo salar) are the two major species cultured. The governments of Canada and the United
States of America (USA) support the continued expansion of the aquaculture sector and are engaged
with the industry to facilitate this development. At the same time there is a strong sentiment within the
industry that regulatory agencies should take a much more proactive role to eliminate overlapping
jurisdictions, resolve conflicting mandates and establish clear guidelines for industry expansion.
A significant constraint to future aquaculture development is public concern about environmental risks associated with aquaculture, the safety of aquacultured products, and the potential impact of fish farms on marine ecosystems. The industry is responding to these concerns with the development of best management practices and environmental codes of practice to insure the long-term sustainability of land based, coastal and offshore aquaculture systems.
Current production technology and the extensive environmental regulatory processes in place in Canada and the USA are effective in preventing these concerns from becoming problems. The document analyses the state and the trends in aquaculture development over the past few years in the North American region.
- CHARACTERISTICS, STRUCTURE OF THE SECTOR
- 1.1 Overview 1.1.1 General information 1.1.2 History 1.2 Human resources 1.3 Distribution and characteristics 1.4 Culture species and practices 1.5 Sector performance
- AQUACULTURE PRODUCTION, SPECIES AND VALUES
- LEGAL, INSTITUTIONAL AND MANAGEMENT ASPECTS
- Promotion and management of the Sector
- TREND ISSUES AND DEVELOPMENT
- Social impacts and employment and poverty reduction
- Aquacultures contribution to food security
- Economics and trade
- Institutions to support responsible development of aquaculture
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