The Importance of Aquaculture
This is an excerpt from a blog on aquaculture and the statistics were amazing and interesting. I knew that aquaculture is important to preserving the Eastern oyster (ironically after almost wiping it out in the 1800s in New England and the 1900's in the Chesapeake.)
According to the Food and AgriculturalOrganization (FAO) of the United Nations, aquaculture is the fastest growing source of animal protein. Currently, salmon, shrimp, pangasius, tilapia, abalone, clams, trout, oysters, scallops, mussels, seriola and cobia are the most common species of farmed seafood. Sixty percent of aquaculture production is from bodies of freshwater while the balance is from estuaries or the sea.
The worldwide total yearly aquaculture production of finfish, shellfish and plants now surpasses 75 million metric tons. This compares with beef (65 million metric tons), pork (109 million metric tons) and poultry (98 million metric tons), making aquaculture a major source of protein.
This dramatic growth in aquaculture has enabled global per capita consumption of aquatic protein and plants to increase over time without further taxing wild species. Aquatic plant and animal contribution to the human diet has reached an all-time record of 23.9 kilograms per person on average; supplying 3 billion people with at least 15% of their animal protein intake. Over the past 30 years, per capita consumption of seafood has grown by 1.1% annually despite 1.5% population growth.
The FAO projects that aquaculture has the potential to meet the protein needs of 500 million additional people.
Globally, aquaculture is heavily concentrated in the Asia-Pacific region. According to the FAO’s most recent statistics, the Asia-Pacific region accounts for 89.1% of global aquaculture production with China alone contributing 62.3%. Of the fifteen leading aquaculture-producing countries, eleven are in the Asia-Pacific region. Africa, on the other hand, only produces 2% of global aquaculture, and yet is one of the more protein-deficient regions of the world. It is interesting that one of the Island Creek Founcation's activities is in Zanzibar an island off the coast of Tanzania off the coast of Africa.
The potential for coastal saltwater aquaculture is considerable. For instance, food-challenged Somalia has the longest coastline in Africa and could advance as a major producer of farmed shrimps.