According to a newly published paper by researchers at the University of British Columbia (UBC), aquaculture growth peaked in 1996 and is now declining.
A study found that if we rely solely on aquaculture to meet demand for seafood by 2030, global production will need to grow three times faster than current projections.
Under the guidance of Dr. Rashid Sumaila, Professor of the UBC Institute of Marine Fisheries and Dr. Muhammed Oyinlola, a postdoctoral researcher in UBC’s Department of Zoology, the paper argues that aquaculture, as many of its proponents argue, is a world This suggests that it may not be a panacea for seafood security in Japan.
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“Atlantic salmon saw the biggest drop in aquaculture production growth for a species, from 314 per cent prior to 1970 to just 0.9 per cent in 2018. We were surprised to find that growth in shellfish farming is also declining, because shellfish don’t require feeding with fish meal, so there are technically fewer barriers for farming shellfish than finfish,” said Dr Oyinlola.
“We also projected that if the world relies solely on aquaculture to meet seafood demand, we would face a seafood shortage of about 71 million tonnes a year by 2030, if farmed seafood production continues growing at its current rate,” he added.
Aquaculture has a role to play but we shouldn’t give up on our wild fish, and that means rebuilding and conserving them. We need aquaculture, we just need to manage it wisely, and not oversell its potential
Despite the large number of farmed aquatic species, the researchers point to the prevalence of a handful.
“Farmed food is usually very specialised in that a very few species are farmed based on market demand. Without wild fish stocks, we would lose biodiversity. One result of this lack of diversity would be a loss of nutritional value for humans, as smaller fish like sardines are loaded with micronutrients, but tuna is what sells. Maintaining and rebuilding wild fish stocks is not only good for nature but also good for human health and food security,” noted Dr Oyinlola.
“We can’t just rely solely on aquaculture for our seafood needs. Leaving aside technical, environmental and economic reasons for not doing so, wild fish is fish for all, in a sense. While 201 countries cumulatively caught 60 per cent of the total global wild fish catch in 2018, China alone produces 60 per cent of the world’s farmed seafood, and Asia produces 90 per cent. If you have money, you can afford to buy farmed seafood, but what if you don’t? I would love for fish farming to feed everyone perfectly but it’s not a reality: Aquaculture has a role to play but we shouldn’t give up on our wild fish, and that means rebuilding and conserving them. We need aquaculture, we just need to manage it wisely, and not oversell its potential,” Dr Sumaila concluded.