1.2 Contribution to Food Fish Supplies
Food fish supplies
Although the total production of finfish and shellfish from capture fisheries amounted to 92 million mt in 1995, only 61 million mt (live weight) or 66.3% was available for direct human consumption as `food fish’. The remainder (31 million mt) 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 APR of 1.5 between 1984 and 1995 (equivalent to the growth of the human population over the same period (Figure 1.2.1). By contrast, aquaculture has been the world’s fastest growing food production system with food fish production increasing from 6.7 million mt to 20.9 million mt over the same period.
In terms of food supply, aquaculture produced the equivalent of 13.7 million mt of aquatic animal meat products (after gutting/shelling) for direct human consumption in 1995, or 6.2% of the total world farmed animal meat production of 222.1 million mt carcass weight (other products are: pig meat 37.6%, beef and veal 24.0%, chicken meat 20.9%, mutton and lamb 3.2%, all others 8.1%), thus ranking fourth in terms of global meat production.
Per caput food fish supply from aquaculture increased by 163% since 1984 from 1.40 kg (live weight) to 3.68 kg in 1995, at an average APR of 9.2. By contrast, per caput food fish supply from capture fisheries has remained relatively static: 10.8 kg in 1984 and 10.7 kg in 1995. One in four food fish consumed by humans in 1995, from a total average food fish supply of 14.4 kg, was supplied by aquaculture (Figure 1.2.3).
Of special importance is the fact that over 85% of total aquaculture food fish production came from developing countries (compared with 51% in terrestrial animal meat production), and in particular from LIFDCs, which supplied over 76% of total food fish output from aquaculture (as compared with only 37% in the case of terrestrial meat production). Per caput aquaculture food fish production increased nearly four fold from 1.2 to 4.5 kg between 1984 and 1995, at an APR of 12.3 (compared with a population growth rate of 2.1% in LIFDCs over the same period). Moreover, it is most likely that the contribution of aquaculture to rural food security in developing countries is greater than reported in country statistics, because household consumption by small producers is usually not recorded.
China stands out among the top ten aquaculture food fish producers in 1995, in that it produced over 61% of total world food fish production from aquaculture (12.8 million mt), with per caput aquaculture food fish production increasing five fold from 2.1 kg to 10.5 kg between 1984 and 1995 at an APR of 15.9. Moreover, China produced about 8.7 million mt of farmed aquatic meat (fish and shellfish after gutting and shelling) for direct human consumption in 1995 compared with 54.2 million mt for total farmed livestock meat production, with farmed aquatic meat ranking only second to pig meat in terms of production (Figure 1.2.4).
It is also important to mention here that the bulk of farmed aquatic plant production (i.e. 6.81 million mt in 1995 or 87.1% of total global aquatic plant landings, including brown, red and green seaweeds) was produced as a food source for direct human consumption (in China, Japan, Republic of Korea and Democratic People's Republic of Korea), with only a relatively minor proportion being processed as a source of carrageenans and alginates for the food industry (Xia and Abbott, 1987; Notoya, 1995; McHugh, 1996) .
The latest data concerning the contribution of fish and fishery products to protein supply are for 1993; they clearly show the critical role played by food fish, and in particular aquaculture food fish, in the human diet in the different regions of the world (Table 1.2.1). In 1993, aquaculture contributed more than 30% and 36% of the total food fish supply in Asia and in LIFDCs, respectively. Moreover, in most leading aquaculture-producing countries in Asia (with the notable exception of China), food fish plays a major role in human protein nutrition by supplying over one-third of the total animal protein intake [Viet Nam, 35.0% of total animal proteins; Cambodia, 38.6%; Thailand, 41.1%; Bangladesh, 46.7%; Korea Rep., 46.8%; Japan, 47.0%; Myanmar, 47.6%; Philippines, 51.5%; Sri Lanka, 51.5%; Indonesia, 53.5%; and Korea DPR, 65.2% (Laureti, 1996)]. Food fish play such an important dietary role in these countries because of their ready availability and, more importantly, affordability (lower cost than most other animal protein sources). By contrast, the bulk of aquaculture food fish production in developed countries is generally restricted to the production of higher-value (in marketing terms) food fish species for luxury or export markets. However, even in the latter case, and in the long term, aquaculture has invariably reduced the price of high-value fish and shrimp and brought them within the reach of a larger proportion of the population.
In Africa, even though the continent has the lowest per caput food fish supply (7.0 kg; a decrease of 10% since 1984) and the lowest contribution of aquaculture to per caput supply (1.5%), food fish play an essential role in supplying much needed animal protein. Africa is only second to Asia in terms of the contribution of food fish to total animal protein supply (Table 1.2.1). Sub-Saharan countries in which food fish supplied over 30% of the total animal protein intake of the population in 1993 included Uganda (31.6%), Tanzania (32.8%), Guinea (34.9%), Angola (35.7%), Côte d’Ivoire (36.0%), Senegal (37.8%), Togo (39.7%), Malawi (44.2%), Congo (45.3%), Gambia (47.3%), Equatorial Guinea (58.2%), Ghana (58.6%), and Sierra Leone (66.4%) (Laureti, 1996). Thus, while aquaculture production in most sub-Saharan countries is still very modest, the tradition of fish consumption is there to build upon.
If aquaculture food fish production is to contribute in a sustainable manner to food security in developing countries as a provider of an affordable source of much needed high-quality animal protein, it is essential that governments encourage the further development of aquaculture production systems targeted toward production of the lower-value herbivorous and/or omnivorous finfish and shellfish species that feed low in the aquatic food chain. These species are less demanding in terms of inputs and more efficient in terms of nutrient resource use (by avoiding the use of finite `food-grade’ animal feed inputs and maximizing the use of locally available nutrient sources and agricultural by-products; see Section 2.1 Aquafeeds and Feeding Strategies), as well as keeping feed and input costs to a minimum and usually within the economic grasp and capability of resource-poor farmers; thus, consumer prices are kept low (Bailey and Skladany, 1991; Tacon, 1997). For example, Cruz (in press) reported the average prices (in US$/kg) of selected fish and meat products in the Philippines in 1995 as follows: round scad (`galunggong’ - wild-caught marine fish) 1.54, tilapia 2.22, milkfish 2.79, chicken (broiler, dressed) 2.78, pork (lean meat) 3.16, and beef (lean meat) 4.58. On the basis of the above, it is perhaps not surprising that Filipinos, like many other Asians, have a traditional preference for seafood, with an average per caput consumption of 40 kg/year of fishery products compared with only 16.9 kg/year for all other meats (Cruz, 1997).
Bailey, C. and M. Skladany. 1991. Aquaculture development in tropical Asia. Natural Resource Forum, February 1991:66-73.
Cruz, P. (In Press). Aquaculture feed resource atlas of the Philippines. FAO Fisheries Technical Paper No. 366. Rome, FAO.
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Notoya, M. 1995. Modern biotechnology and its application to macroalage cultivation in Japan, p.62-77. In OECD Workshop on Environmental Impacts of Aquaculture using Aquatic Organisms Derived through Modern Biotechnology, Trondheim (Norway), 9-11 June 1993. Environmental Impacts of Aquatic Biotechnology. Paris, OECD. 1,995p.
Tacon, A.G.J., 1997. Feeding tomorrow’s fish - the Asian experience, p.20-42. In K.P.P. Nambiar & T. Singh (eds.) Sustainable Aquaculture. Proceedings of INFOFISH-AQUATECH ‘96 International Conference on Aquaculture, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 25-27 September 1996. Kuala Lumpur, INFOFISH. 248p.
Xia, B.M. and I.A. Abbott, 1987. Edible seaweeds of China and their place in the Chinese diet. Economic Botany 41(3):341-353.