Who eats fish?

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About 75 percent of the world fish catch is used for human consumption. The remainder is converted into fish-meal and oil used mainly for animal feed (including farmed fish). In recent years, the volume of fishery products marketed in their fresh state has increased, as has that of frozen fish. The relative share of finfish has declined, while that of crustaceans, molluscs and cephalopods has increased.

Asia, which combines a relatively high per caput consumption with large populations, is by far the most important fish-consuming region. Europe is the second largest food fish-consuming continent. Fish consumption is generally higher in developed countries than in developing countries, notable exceptions being found among the small developing island states. The lowest levels of consumption occur in Africa and the Near East.

In many countries, especially developing countries, the average per caput consumption may be low, but fish may be the staple food in coastal areas and among the poor, and an important source of animal proteins. The demand for fish for food is expected to continue to grow. Based on projected population growth and on the maintenance of the present world level of consumption, by 2010 it could reach 120 million tonnes a year, a substantial increase over the 75 million to 85 million tonnes of the mid-1990s.

In this section

Fish is food for the brain as well as good protein