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Sustainably Farmed Seafood Key To Food Security

by the Fish Site Editor
14 June 2011, at 1:00am

GENERAL - Aquaculture production is the most efficient source of animal protein, according to a new and comprehensive analysis released by the WorldFish Center and Conservation International (CI).

The report investigates the environmental impact of the world's major aquaculture production systems and species, and today offers a first-ever global assessment of trends and impacts of cultivated seafood.

The analysis has found that, from the 75 species-production systems reviewed, more production means more ecological impact, but that compared to other forms of animal protein production such as livestock, aquaculture is more efficient.

The report, "Blue Frontiers: Managing the environmental costs of aquaculture", along with a companion policy recommendations paper, was released in Bangkok, Thailand at the ASEAN SEAFDEC Conference (Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center) on "Sustainable Fisheries for Food Security Towards 2020".

It concludes that the demand for aquaculture products will continue to grow over the next two decades as a key source of animal protein for growing urban populations, and that the industry needs to meet this demand with improved efficiencies and reduced environmental impacts.

Fish, unlike pigs and cattle, convert a higher percentage of the food they eat into consumable protein, resulting in less waste.

The report highlights aquaculture species with the lowest environmental impact as bivalves (mussels and oysters), mollusks and seaweed.

Looking toward the future of seafood cultivation, "Blue Frontiers" projects that global aquaculture production will continue to grow at current rates, with conservative estimates of 65-85 million tones produced in 2020, and 79-110 million tones by 2030. By comparison, 69 million tonnes of cultivated seafood were produced in 2008.

"China, India and the rest of Asia with their growing middle classes are where we can expect demand for fish to rise most significantly" said co-author Mike Phillips, a senior scientist at WorldFish. "Current trends indicate that the majority of the increase in global production will come from South and Southeast Asia, with a continued drive by major producer counties such as China and Vietnam towards export to European and North American markets."

the Fish Site Editor