Fish Production from Aquaculture Rises While Marine Fish Stocks Continue to Decline

Matt Styslinger | May 03, 2011

Global fisheries production from fish caught in the wild and from aquaculture (fish farming) reached 145.1 million tons in 2009 (the most recent year with data), an all-time high.1 (See Figure 1.) This represents a 1.9-percent increase from 2008, slightly higher than the previous year’s 1.8-percent growth rate.2 Forecasts for 2010 suggested a growth of 1.3 percent to 147 million tons.3

Both wild capture and aquaculture are practiced in marine and freshwater environments. (See Figure 2.) Wild capture output increased by 0.22 percent from 2008 to 2009 and accounted for roughly 60 percent of all fish production.4 Aquaculture output, in contrast, grew approximately 4.5 percent in 2009.5 Once a minor contributor to total fish harvest, aquaculture production increased some 50-fold to 52.6 million tons between the 1950s and 2008, and it is set to surpass output of wild fisheries within a few years.6

Capture fish production dominated marine fisheries, accounting for 80 percent of the 99.2 million tons of marine fish harvested in 2008.7 In freshwater (inland) fisheries, however, production was dominated by aquaculture, which accounted for just over 76 percent of the 43.1 million tons of fish produced.8 Thus inland aquaculture accounted for approximately 88 percent of the total growth in global fish production—both marine and inland—in 2008.9

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