The number of animal species suitable for aquaculture is steadily increasing worldwide. As new techniques for artificial breeding, rearing and feeding are developed, many species previously only available through capture fisheries are now under culture or experimentation. Notwithstanding this effort of researchers and farmers, most of the world aquaculture production is based on a relatively limited number of species.
According to the latest official aquaculture production statistics (FAO, 1996), production data for 103 fish species, 21 crustacean species and 43 mollusc species were reported for 1994. These 167 species accounted for 15,369,861 metric tons of production, or 82.8% of the total aquaculture production (18,555,115 mt) reported to FAO for the three major animal groups. The other 3,185,254 mt of production (17.1% of the total) were not identified to species and were reported by member countries to FAO using genus, family or less specific taxonomic levels. Other animal resources, such as frogs, turtles, crocodiles and alligators, sea-squirts and tunicates, and sponges, have not been included in this list because production data at the species level have been reported to FAO (1996) only for one species (Chelonia mydas). Species cultivated only for larval feeding, such as Artemia salina, have not been included.
Other species, selected from recent literature (consulted through ASFA, 1996) and literature reviews (see References) or from previous lists (Pillay, 1990), have been added to those reported in FAO (1996), resulting in a total number of 262 species including 151 fish species, 39 crustacean species and 72 mollusc species. Although Pullin (1996) puts the number of fish species used in aquaculture slightly higher at 178, only species cultured commercially and with a relevant production in some country have been considered here, thus excluding species under experimentation and those animal produced by inter-species hybridization.
The purposes of this preliminary list of aquaculture species are: i) to document, to the extent possible, the number of animal species currently cultured by region and worldwide; ii) to facilitate communication of accurate information on species names and production, and iii) to assess contribution of introduced species to aquaculture production.
Since this list is provisional it is hoped that this Circular will provoke comments and suggestions from researchers and farmers alike. Persons finding mistakes or omissions are kindly requested to send comments to:
Chief, Inland Water Resources and Aquaculture Service
FAO, Via delle Terme di Caracalla
00100 Rome, Italy