This document updates the regular FAO review of world aquaculture production, which was issued separately from the review of inland fisheries for the first time in 1995 as FAO Fisheries Circular 886, entitled "Review of the State of World Fishery Resources: Aquaculture". Since the subject matter of the circular does not deal with the state of a natural fishery resources, it has been renamed "Review of the State of World Aquaculture".
Data on production volume (in metric tons, mt, rounded to the nearest thousand mt) and value (in current US$ for the year) are derived exclusively from the most recent FAO Aquaculture Production Statistics, FAO Fisheries Circular No. 815, Revision 9, 1997, consisting of statistics provided to FAO by reporting countries. The circular also draws upon and cites information from other FAO publications, unpublished FAO information and non-FAO information from conference proceedings, journals and books. Production and trends are covered for the period 1984-1995, in order to incorporate amendments to past statistics submitted to FAO by reporting countries. However, attempts have been made to concentrate on the more recent developments.
Some improvements have been made in the statistical data base since the first publication of this circular in 1995. The returns from several countries have arrived earlier by the use of electronic media and the quality of reports from some countries has greatly improved. The complete separation of the aquaculture and capture fisheries components of the data base has also been completed for 1984-1995, and work is in progress to extend this separation back to 1950. In addition, guidelines for the collection of quantitative structural data on aquaculture have been prepared as a supplement to the " FAO World Census of Agriculture Programme". However, many of the limitations discussed earlier (see Fisheries Circular 886, Annex 1, 1995) remain and their resolution is the subject of ongoing efforts.
This review is prepared in three parts. The first provides a global perspective of production and production trends, and the contribution of the sector to food fish supplies. It identifies some of the major strategic issues facing aquaculture development and presents a subjective estimate of production by the year 2000. The second part reviews developments and trends in some important areas likely to affect the future course of development, including environmental interactions, biodiversity and genetics, feed resources, fish health and quarantine, regulatory frameworks, product safety, international trade and international aid to research and development. The third part reviews production and production trends, as well as main development issues and outlook on a regional basis, for each of seven regions: Asia, Africa, Europe, Former USSR Area, North America, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Oceania.
Asia, as the main producer, has been sub-divided into five sub-regions to provide for more detailed reviews: China, East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia and West Asia. The countries included in each region or sub-region are indicated in the relevant text section. Within the five sub-regions, China is treated separately because it accounts for about 63% of world production from aquaculture. Countries of the former USSR area have been kept together under that geographic region because the separation of aquaculture statistics of the former USSR area into individual countries, from 1984 to the present, has not yet been completed by FAO.
In view of the growing complexity of aquaculture, and the need for interdisciplinary and intersectoral efforts for its development and management, efforts were made for the first time, in the preparation of this document, to incorporate inputs from various Services of the FAO Fisheries Department and from other Departments and Services within the Organization. In some instances, professional colleagues from outside the organization, with special expertise in selected subject matter covered in this review, were invited to participate, and prepared relevant sections of this document. This is a modest beginning for what is intended to be a more concerted effort in future reviews.