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The FAO Aquaculture Newsletter

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December 1997, No. 17

Inland Water Resources and Aquaculture Service, Fisheries Department, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, Rome, 00100 Italy

Tel: 39-6-57054795 Fax: 39-6-57053020. E-mail: Ziad.Shehadeh@fao.org


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Cage culture of marine fish, Thailand



International Trade in Aquaculture Products
A. Lem and Z. H. Shehadeh

The use of inter-species hybrids in aquaculture and their reporting to FAO
D. M. Bartley, K. Rana and A. J. Immink

Introductions of Aquatic Organisms in Africa
B. P. Satia and D. M. Bartley

Projects and other activities
M. Pedini, Mohamed Hadj Ali Salem, D. M. Bartley, M. Martinez and Z. H. Shehadeh

New FAO Publications

Staff contributions to external publications, meetings, etc.













The FAO Aquaculture Newsletter (FAN) is issued three times a year by the Inland Water Resources and Aquaculture Service, Fishery Resources Division, of FAO's Fisheries Department, Rome, Italy. It presents articles and views from the FAO aquaculture programme and discusses various aspects of aquaculture as seen from the perspective of both Headquarters and the field programme. Articles are contributed by FAO staff from within and outside the Fisheries Department, from FAO regional offices and field projects, by FAO consultants and, occasionally, by invitation from other sources. The FAN is distributed free of charge to various institutions, scientists, planners and managers in Member Countries and has a current circulation of about 3,000 copies. It is also available on the FAO internet Home Page: http://www.fao.org./waicent/fishery/newslet/newslet.htm

Editor: Ziad H. Shehadeh

Editorial Board: Mario Pedini, Albert Tacon

Layout and Production: Sylviane Borghesi


Importance of Aquaculture to Global Food Fish Supplies

Although the total production of finfish and shellfish from capture fisheries amounted to 92 million metric tonnes (mmt) in 1995, only 61 mmt (live weight) or 66.3% was available for direct human consumption as `food fish'. The remainder (31 mmt) was reduced into fishmeal and fish oil for use in animal feeding or for industrial purposes. Total food fish production from capture fisheries grew at an average compound growth rate of 1.5% per year between 1984 and 1995 or equivalent to the growth of the human population over the same period. By contrast, aquaculture has been the world's fastest growing food production system for the past decade with food fish production increasing from 6.69 to 20.94 mmt over the same period, with the sector growing at an average rate of 10.9% per year since 1984, as compared with a growth of 3.1% for terrestrial livestock meat production. On the basis of this rapid growth, it is perhaps not surprising that aquaculture's contribution toward total world food fish landings (i.e. 81.9 mmt in 1995; figure includes both food fish landings from capture fisheries and aquaculture) has increased more than two-fold from 11.5% in 1984 to 25.6% by weight in 1995. One in four food fish consumed by humans in 1995, from a total average per caput food fish supply of 14.4 kg, is now being provided by aquaculture. On a per caput food fish supply basis, aquaculture food fish production has increased by 163% since 1984 from 1.40 kg to 3.68 kg in 1995, at an average rate of 9.2% per year. By contrast, per caput food fish supply from capture fisheries has remained relatively static, decreasing from 10.8 kg in 1984 to 10.7 kg in 1995.

Of particular importance is the fact that over 85% of total aquaculture food fish production came from developing countries (as compared with 51% in the case of terrestrial animal meat production), and in particular from Low Income Food Defecit Countries or LIFDCs. The latter supplied over 76% of total food fish output from aquaculture (as compared with only 37% in the case of terrestrial meat production), with per capita aquaculture food fish production increasing nearly four-fold from 1.2 to 4.5 kg between 1984 and 1995, at an average rate of 12.3% (as compared with an average population growth rate of 2.1% over the same period). The main reason why food fish play such an important dietary role in these countries is its ready availability, and more importantly, its affordability (lower cost than most other conventional terrestrial animal protein sources). By contrast, the bulk of aquaculture food fish production within developed countries is generally restricted to the production of higher value (in marketing terms) food fish species for luxury or export markets. Clearly, if aquaculture food fish production is to contribute in a sustainable manner to food security within developing countries as a provider of an affordable source of much needed high quality animal protein, then it is essential that governments continue to encourage the further development of aquaculture production systems targeted toward the production of lower value herbivorous and/or omnivorous finfish and shellfish species feeding low on the aquatic food chain; these species being less demanding in terms of inputs and more efficient in terms of nutrient resource use (ie. by avoiding the use of finite `food grade' animal feed inputs and maximising the use of locally available nutrient sources and agricultural waste streams), as well as keeping feed and input costs to a minimum and therefore within the economic grasp and capability of the both the resource-poor and resource-rich farmers and consumers

Albert G.J Tacon

Fishery Resources Officer

Fishery Resources Division