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Estimates and projections of the levels of fishmeal and fish oil used in aquafeeds have been derived from the criteria summarized in Table 3. Projected use in 2015 and 2030 has been determined by applying the aquaculture expansion factors that have been discussed in section 3.2 and summarized in Table 2. The results of these calculations are presented in Table 4.

New (1999) noted that it had already become clear that forecasts of future marine resource usage in aquafeeds (Tacon, 1998) were becoming highly influenced by reports of the expansion, not only in the aquaculture production of China, but also specifically in the growth of its aquafeed industry (Cremer et al., 1998). Sorgeloos (2000) commented that an evolution is occurring in China, the world’s largest aquaculture producer, from its traditional freshwater pond culture systems into the use of commercial aquafeeds, as well as into the culture of both freshwater and marine carnivorous aquatic species. This fundamental change in the character of Chinese aquaculture will have a serious impact on the rate with which the requirements for marine resources may potentially equal supply. China is the world’s largest importer of fishmeal (FAO Fishstat, 2001) and the second largest commercial feed manufacturing nation (Gill, 2000). Separate forecasts have therefore been provided in Table 4 for the global picture (i.e., including China) and for China alone. These clearly indicate the substantial influence that the farming of carnivorous fish and shrimp farming in China has on global marine resource utilization in aquafeeds. The speed with which Chinese aquaculture becomes more intensive and skewed towards the farming of high-value, carnivorous species, either for its own expanding domestic luxury and tourist markets or for future export, will also critically affect the future for the fishmeal and fish oil industry.

This study estimates that 2.09 million tonnes of fishmeal and over 0.66 million tonnes of fish oil were used in global aquafeed manufacture in the base line year, 1999 (Table 4). It is estimated that China utilized about 0.64 million tonnes of fishmeal and 0.11 million tonnes of fish oil in that year.

Based on the assumptions used in this study, the annual demand from aquaculture will have risen to nearly 4.6 million tonnes of fishmeal and nearly 1.9 million tonnes of fish oil by 2015. By that date, China is expected to be using 1.86 million tonnes of fishmeal and 0.55 million tonnes of fish oil per year. Estimates are also provided in Table 4 for the year 2030.

This study indicates that the global aquaculture demand for fishmeal was 32 percent of the supply level in 1999 and may reach nearly 70 percent by 2015 (Table 5; Figure 3). Table 5 and Figure 3 clearly show that the demand from China alone, providing present trends continue, would be equivalent to nearly 30% of the global fishmeal supply, rising to over 70% by 2030.

The results of this study show that the demand for fish oil from the aquaculture industry is likely to reach 1.86 million tonnes by 2015 (Table 4). This is equivalent to 145% of the fish oil supply (Table 5). The demand from China alone is potentially 0.55 million tonnes by 2015 and 2.14 million tonnes by 2030 (Table 4). China thus has the potential to utilize over 40% of the global fish oil supply by 2015 and the entire supply well before 2030 (Figure 4). Thus another of the ‘fish ingredient traps’ anticipated by Wijkström and New (1989), namely a ‘fish oil trap’, may apply even before the fishmeal trap becomes operative.

This study therefore indicates that the global demand for fishmeal for aquafeeds would exceed total available supplies around the year 2020 and for fish oil well before the year 2010 (Figure 5).

The global projection from this study for fishmeal utilization by aquaculture for the year 2015 agrees quite closely with the estimates made by the fishmeal and fish oil industry itself in 2000 (Annex 1), namely in excess of 4.3 million tonnes/year. The results show that the demand from aquaculture for fish oil may exceed supplies rather earlier than anticipated by the fish oil industry itself but not so rapidly and indicated by another forecaster (Annex 1). All three studies agree that the 100% aquafeed utilization mark for fish oil supply will be reached before 2010.

In 1999, the four major aquaculture users of fishmeal supplies were salmon (21%), followed by marine shrimp (19%), selected marine fish (10%), eels (9%), and trouts and sturgeons (8%). On the assumed aquaculture expansion trends (Table 2), salmon (24%) will remain the major fishmeal consumer in aquaculture in 2015, followed by selected marine fish (20%) and redfish (20%), with marine shrimp (11%) falling from second to fourth place. By that time, the proportion of fishmeal resources used in the production of trouts and eels will have become relatively minor.

In 1999, salmon (41%), followed by trouts and sturgeons (13%), were the most significant consumers of fish oil. Salmon (36%) is likely to remain the leader in 2015 but redfish (21%) and selected marine fish (14%) are expected to be next most important consumers by then.

It is estimated that Chinese aquaculture consumed about 30% of the fishmeal used by the global industry in 1999 (Table 4). This proportion is expected to rise to 41% by 2015. The proportion of total aquafeed usage of fish oil by China in 1999 was estimated to be 16%, with the projection for 2015 being 30%. The fishmeal industry is already focusing its attention on the ever-increasing demands of China for marine feed ingredients (Millar, 2001).

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