Aquaculture Newsletter

(August 1996 Number 13)

Major Trends in Global Aquaculture Production: 1984 to 1994

Krishen Rana¹, M. Perotti.¹, M. Pedini² and A. Tacon²
¹Fishery Information, Data and Statistics Unit
²Fishery Resources Division

The limited supply of fish from marine and freshwater capture fisheries is unlikely to meet the growing global demand for aquatic products. This, together with national efforts aimed at generating foreign currency, nutritional self sufficiency and higher standards of living, have focused the efforts of many countris to develop and strengthen aquaculture. Overall, these national goals are reflected in the continued expansion of the aquaculture sector since the 1980s. For most countries, this expansion was sustained in 1994 and resulted in aquaculture increasing its contribution to world fish production and maintaining its position as one of the fastest growing food production activities in the world. Between 1984 and 1994, total aquaculture production by weight (finfish, shellfish and aquatic plants) grew at an average compounded annual rate of 9.4 % compared with only 1.7% and 2.9% for total capture fisheries and meat production, respectively.

Global Aquaculture Production

In 1994, the total aquaculture production, which was valued at US$ 39.83 billion, reached a record 25.46 million tonnes, representing an overall increase of 11.8 and 10.3% over 1993 production by quantity and value, respectively (Figure 1). This increase in production by quantity was higher for fish and shellfish which averaged 12.6% or 2.08 million tonnes.

Figure 1. Global Trends in Aquaculture Production


Contribution of Principal Countries to Global Aquaculture Production

The global contribution of cultured finfish and shellfish to total fish production (capture fisheries and aquaculture) by quantity increased from 14.3% in 1992 to nearly 17% in 1994. The relative importance and contribution of aquaculture to national fish production by quantity within countries, however, varied markedly. In 1994 aquaculture production of finfish and shellfish from China, India and France, respectively contributed 51.2, 35.5 and 33.3% to their total national fishery production whereas in Japan, Norway and USA these activites contributed only 10.6, 8.6 and 6.8%, respectively (Figure 2).

Figure 2. Contribution (%) of Finfish and Shellfish Culture
to National Fish Production in 1994


Global production of finfish, shellfish and aquatic plants in 1994 continued to be dominated by Asia (89.9%), with China and India accounting for 60.4% (15.4 million tonnes) and 6.3% (1.6 million tonnes) of production, respectively, followed by Japan (5.6%;1.4 million tonnes), Republic of Korea (4.3%; 1.1 million tonnes) and Philippines (3.1%; 0.8 million tonnes). These top five countries accounted for around 80% of world aquaculture production in 1994. Europe, followed by North America, South America, former USSR, Africa and Oceania together accounted for 10% of global production.

The trend of expanding aquaculture production in developing and Low-Income Food-Deficit countries (LIFDCs) and the recent decline in production from countries in transition, which include the republics from the former USSR and eastern Europe, continued in 1994 (Figure 3).

Figure 3. Aquaculture Production of Finfish and Shellfish
by Economic class


Figure 3. Aquaculture Production of Finfish and Shellfish by Economic Class

In 1994, 84% or 15.8 million tonnes of total global cultured finfish and shellfish originated from developing countries compared with 13.9% or 2.5 million tonnes from industrial countries and 1.3% or 0.24 million tonnes from countries in transition. Except for developing countries, changes in production over 1993 were insignificant. Within developing countries, however, production rose by 15.1%.

Aquaculture production within LIFDCs between 1990 and 1994 rose sharply at an average annual compounded rate of 17.1% and, in 1994, the 19.1 million tonnes reported accounted for 75% of world production of finfish, shellfish and aquatic plants. About 99% of total aquaculture production within LIFDCs originated from five countries (Figure 4). In 1994, aquaculture production from LIFDCs accounted for 81.8% of farmed finfish, 59.3% of crustaceans, 58% of molluscs and 76.8% of aquatic plants. The rapid rate of increase in production within either Asia, developing countries or LIFDCs, however, can largely be attributed to the contribution of China. China, which has dominated global aquaculture production over the last decade, reported total production of 15.4 million tonnes in 1994 accounting for 60.4% of world production and, 67.2 and 80.7% of Asian and LIFDCs production, respectively Figure 4. Contribution of Top Five countries to Finfish, Shellfish and Aquatic PlantProduction (by Quantity) within LIFDC's.

Figure 4. Contribution of Top Five countries to Finfish, Shellfish
and Aquatic Plant Production (by Quantity) within LIFDC's.


Culture Environments and Species Groups

Although the use of coastal aquatic resources is increasing, culture in freshwater habitats still dominates world aquaculture. In 1994, freshwater culture accounted for 63% or 11.74 million tonnes of total cultured finfish and shellfish production, compared with 8% or 1.51 million tonnes from brackishwater and 29% or 5.30 million tonnes from the marine environment (Figure 5). Although production from brackishwater only amounted to 8% by weight it represented 22% of the total value of production, reflecting the culture of around 863,000 tonnes of high valued Penaeus species (Figure 5).

Figure 5. Global Production of Cultured Finfish and Shellfish
by Environment

figure figure

Global aquaculture continued to be dominated by freshwater finfish production. In 1994 finfish production contributed 51.2% of global production by quantity (Figure 6a) and 54% by value ( Figure 6b). Aquatic plants, a significant proportion of which are used for human consumption, accounted for 27% and 15% of production by weight and value, respectively. Although crustaceans only contributed 4% of production by quantity, their higher unit value resulted in them contributing 18.1% of total value (figure 6).

Figure 6. Contribution of Major Cultured Groups to Global Aquaculture(br) Production

figure figure

Recent Developments in Aquaculture

In recent years the aquaculture sector has developed by diversifying the number of cultured species and simultaneously increasing the production of mainstream species.

The culture of high value species, to diversify production and target niche markets, is being reported by a growing number of countries. Aquaculture species reported for the first time in 1994 by countries included 6 tonnes of European abalone by the Channel Islands and 106 tonnes of large mouth bass by Mexico. Portugal reported production of 36 tonnes of giant river prawn for the first time. Mexico produced 157 and 91 tonnes of crayfish and cupped oysters, Cyprus produced 5 tonnes of Indian white prawn and the Channel Islands produced 1,420 tonnes of Pacific cupped oyster. Although aquaculture in France continues to be dominated by mollusc culture, the production of high value species such as sturgeon (150 tonnes) kuruma prawns (33 tonnes) and turbot (550 tonnes) were reported in the last five years .

Aquaculture output has increased in several other countries. In the Mediterranean region the production of sea bass and bream increased sharpely from around 350 tonnes in 1984 to 14,300 and 21,200 tonnes, respectively. Countries such as Greece, France, Turkey, Spain, and Italy were the principal producers in the last five years.

In the Asia-Pacific region, production reported for black and grass carp, Nile tilapia, Atlantic salmon, giant tiger prawn, cupped oyster and scallops have increased sharply in the last five years. In India the production of grass carp rose from 0 to around 12,000tonnes between 1990 and 1994. Similarly, in China, black carp production rose from around 37,500 to 103,000 tonnes and scallop production rose from 147,000 to 826,000 tonnes. In Thailand, Philippines and Indonesia the production of the giant tiger prawn between 1990 and 1994 approximately doubled. In Australia, the production of Atlantic salmon, Baramundi (sea bass) and yabby (crawfish) increased markedly between 1990 and 1994. For Atlantic salmon, the Australian production increased from 1,750 to 4,000 tonnes. In Chile, the production of salmonids has expanded rapidly in the 1990s and by 1994, 34,000-35,000 tonnes of Atlantic and coho salmon and 33,000 tonnes of rainbow trout tonnes were produced.

Whilst the contribution of cultured fish and shellfish to total national fish production may be high (Figure 2), farming activities within countries in 1994 were dominated by the culture of a few species and these groups varied between countries. In China and India for example, cultured Chinese and Indian major carps accounted for 62 and 91% of finfish and shellfish production, respectively, whereas in Japan, Korea and France, oysters and mussels accounted for 54, 61.8 and 75.4% of production. In the Philippines and Indonesia, where 83.3 % (0.33 million tonnes) of the worlds milkfish is produced, this species accounted for 42.1 and 27.3%, respectively, of national finfish and shellfish production.

The culture of cyprinids, in particular freshwater herbivorous Chinese carps, produced largely under semi-intensive and extensive aquaculture systems, dominated global finfish production, and 9.2 million tonnes were farmed, mainly in China. The four Chinese carps, the silver, grass, common and bighead carps represented the top four cultured species by weight and comprised 51% of total finfish production (Figure 7). The giant tiger prawn ranked eighth with reported production of 0.51 million tonnes in 1994, of which 52, 22 and 18% was produced in Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines, respectively (Figure 7).

Figure 7. Production of Major Cultured Finfish and Shellfish Species


The relative importance of cultured species by total value, however, differed from that by weight. The giant tiger prawn, which ranked eighth by weight, was the most valuable cultured species in 1994 (US$ 3.43 billion) with the silver carp (US$ 2.20 billion), common carp (US$ 2.02 billion) and grass carp (US$ 1.69 billion ) being the third, fourth and fifth most valuable species.

The decline in total prawn and shrimp production since 1992, which was largely attributed to disease outbreaks, showed a marked recovery in 1994; reported production rose from 0.84 million tonnes in 1993 to over 0.92 million tonnes in 1994. The overall increase could be attributed to the continuous increase in the culture of the giant tiger prawn from 0.33 million tonnes in 1991 to 0.51 million tonnes in 1994 even though the production of the fleshy prawn in China had collapsed from a peak of 0.22 million tonnes in 1991 to 0.06 million tonnes in 1994.

World aquaculture production statistics from 1984 have been updated to 1994 and will shortly be published as the revised FAO Fisheries CircularNo. 815. These time series can also be obtained in a computerised form as AQUACULT PC which will allow users to extract, manipulate and present selected data sets.

In collating global aquaculture statistics, the FAO acknowledges the essential contribution of the providers of aquaculture statistics from national, regional and other institutions. Constructive feedback and comments are welcomed from providers and users of statistics.