Aquaculture continues to increase in volume and value of output in many countries of the world, filling the gap between the supply and demand for fish and fishery products, improving nutrition, creating new or additional employment, and contributing to the household economy, particularly in rural areas.
In 1986, world production from aquaculture reached around 11 million metric tonnes (t) (8.2 million t of fish, crustaceans, and molluscs and 2.8 million t of seaweeds and algae) valued at about US$ 12 thousand million or roughly one-third of that from the total world fisheries catch of. about US$ 30-40 thousand million (Aquaculture Development and Coordination Programme (ADCP), 1989a).
Of the total production from aquaculture some 9 million t, representing around 82% of the global total, were produced in Asia and the balance of 2 million in the other regions of the world (Table 1). The top 16 producers were led by China with an output of about 4.86 million t, followed by Japan with about 1.3 million t, and the Republic of Korea with 993 000 t (Table 2).
It has been estimated that the increasingly substantial contribution of aquaculture to total fish production will continue to rise, with production projected to reach 22 million t by the end of the century, representing about 20-25Z by weight of total world fisheries production and possibly greater than 50% by value as more and more high-value commodities are produced through aquaculture.