Reviews 2020

Reviews 2020

Six Regional Aquaculture Reviews and the State of World Aquaculture were prepared in 2020 in anticipation of the Global Conference on Aquaculture Millennium +20 (GCA +20).

Global Review 2020

Global This document provides a synthesis of six regional aquaculture reviews: Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, Near East and North Africa, North America and sub-Saharan Africa. Global aquaculture production, including aquatic plants, in 2018 was 114.5 million tonnes, with an estimated value of USD 263 billion. The Asia-Pacific region continued to be the major producer. Globally, aquaculture provides over 50 percent of fish for human consumption. In 2018, aquaculturists were reported to farm about 622 species or species items including 387 finfishes, 111 molluscs, 64 crustaceans, seven frogs and reptiles, ten miscellaneous aquatic invertebrates and 43 aquatic plants. From 2000-2018, aquaculture production in freshwater, brackish water and marine water increased at a compound annual growth rate of 5.7 percent, 7.7 percent and 5.2 percent respectively while total aquaculture production grew at an annual growth rate of 5.6 percent. Global food supply and per capita consumption of fish and fish products continued to increase faster than human population growth. Aquaculture is striving to innovate in order to increase production and sustainability. Progress in biosecurity and fish health management, feed formulation and utilization, and genetic resource management are showing good, but uneven progress. The aquaculture sector faces challenges including competition for land and water resources, as well as external factors such as climate change, conflict, economic uncertainties and most recently the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic and other stresses such as droughts and tsunamis, revealed that the aquaculture industry has not engaged sufficiently in disaster preparedness. International and national mechanisms are being put in place to increase the sustainability, good governance and social license of the sector to address these challenges. The diversity of the sector, the opportunities for good jobs and commitments by governments to good governance will help the sector meet these challenges.

Asia-Pacific The Asia-Pacific region is remarkably diverse and wide ranging, geographically, in its flora and fauna, culturally, institutionally and economically. The region includes the two most populous countries in the world, China and India, a greater part of the Asian continent, the Australian continent, and many small islands, mostly in the Pacific Ocean, which are some of the smallest island nations in the world. Fisheries and aquaculture are socio-economically important sectors to most nations in the Asia-Pacific region and most nations in the region have high rates of fish consumption, mostly sourced from aquaculture although the small island nations depend to a greater extent on capture fisheries. This review entails analyses of the aquaculture sector in Asia-Pacific including the status and trends, progress made in achieving sustainable development, salient challenges, issues and anticipated future development. Status and trends are based on data extracted from the FAO Fishery and Aquaculture Statistics (FAO, 2020a; FAO, 2020b), unless stated otherwise, and are mostly for the period from 2008 to 2018 and occasionally for the period from 1990 to 2018 for relevant historical comparison and longer-term contextual analyses.

Regional Review Europe 2020

Europe This review reports on aquaculture development trends and challenges during 2000–2018 in the European Region covering 51 countries including European Union member states. Aquaculture production in the European Region is composed of marine molluscs and diadromous, marine and freshwater fish. It reached 3.4 million tonnes in 2018, while having a value of USD 16.6 billion. Atlantic salmon and rainbow trout combine to give nearly two million tonnes, with molluscs providing 0.7 million tonnes; marine fish species supplied 0.4 million tonnes and freshwater fish 0.3 million tonnes. In Europe, the strongest aquaculture growth has been seen in non-European Union states (e.g. Norway, Turkey, Russian Federation) while several European Union states have diminished production (e.g. France, Netherlands, Italy). The growth in value (5.8 percent) is higher than production (0.9 percent), which is now dominated by salmonids (nearly 60 percent), primarily Atlantic salmon. Mediterranean marine fish farming is mainly for gilthead seabream and European seabass. European cyprinid production in freshwater has increased slightly, where the Russian Federation, Czechia and Poland are the biggest producers. Mussels are the principal shellfish reared, led by Spain, followed by oysters in France and clams in Italy. While publicly quoted companies have led salmon development in Northern Europe, elsewhere aquaculture is done, with few exceptions, by SMEs and micro-enterprises. Mechanisms for financial support exist for aquaculture development throughout Europe but these have not been matched by anticipated results. When unpredictable and time-consuming licensing procedures are combined with extreme competition for space and strict environmental regulations, both growth and investments are discouraged. Technology development focus has been given to structures appropriate for marine off-shore or ‘open ocean’ operation. The use of recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) for large operations has also developed, both for hatcheries and for farms. Treatment for diseases and parasites remains problematic. Use of the same vaccines, veterinary treatments and disinfectants is not standardised, restricting the best health and welfare practices. Access to appropriate and efficient ingredients for formulated feeds remains a key issue for European fish farming, directly influencing productivity and profitability. The European Union is the world’s largest single market for seafood and the most important destination for European aquaculture production. With preferences declared for wild products vs. farmed, the habits of the European consumer have been studied, indicating evolving influences on purchase decisions. These include the use of additives, food miles, climate change, acceptance of manufacturing practices, cost and access as well as health benefits.

Regional Review Latin America and the Caribbean 2020

Latin America and the Caribbean This document reviews the development of the aquaculture industry in the Latin America and the Caribbean region over the past decade. In 2018 aquaculture production in the region amounted to an estimated 3.1 million tonnes of aquatic products (excluding seaweeds) worth USD 17.2 billion at first sale. This food sector is vastly concentrated in a few countries with the combined output from Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Mexico representing over 85 percent of the total regional production. Atlantic salmon, rainbow trout, tilapia, whiteleg shrimp and the Chilean mussel collectively contributed 80.4 percent and 85.9 percent of the regional production by volume and value, respectively. Marine aquaculture has been the dominant production environment in the region for the past two decades, accounting for 70.1 percent of the farmed output in 2018. Production models vary widely, with a concentration of large-scale companies in Chile, while primarily small- and/or medium-size operations in Brazil, Peru and several other countries. Introduced species remain top on the list among those farmed such as tilapia and the different salmonids both of which have contributed to local livelihoods and employment. Tilapia farming has contributed significantly to food security in many countries of the region while the largest proportion of farmed salmons have been destined to the export markets. Production prospects remain promising, however the industry requires in general better governance, the adoption at all levels of appropriate technologies and best practices, and renewed efforts to guarantee environmental sustainability and social acceptance as well as competitiveness and foresight to deal with climate and market changes. The small island developing states (SIDS) face additional challenges including limited expertise, high production costs, poor seed supplies, as well as extreme and destructive weather events. The report discusses issues that require wider regional attention for the aquaculture sector to grow. Key recommendations focus on governance-related improvements highlighting the need for solid sectoral development plans, support policies, and effective rules and regulations. The promotion of a stronger cooperation among the countries in the region as well as further afield on technical matters, species diversification and equal support to small and large-scale farming operation are identified as key elements to foster investment and help the region gain a solid position among world aquatic food producers.

Regional Review Near East and North Africa 2020

Near East and North Africa The Near East and North Africa (NENA) region covers 18 countries and territories: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Western Sahara and Yemen with a total land area of 9.8 million km2. The region is mostly arid or semi-arid but has extensive coastlines and includes a wide range of different economies from high income, hydrocarbon-rich countries to low-income states, some of which have been severely impacted by conflict in recent years. NENA aquaculture production was worth USD 2.3 billion in 2018, two-thirds of which came from Egypt and around one-quarter from Saudi Arabia. Production has grown rapidly since the 1980s, more than doubling over ten years and increasing by 50 percent over the five years preceding 2018 to reach 1.7 million tonnes. Egyptian fish farms accounted for 92 percent of production and Saudi Arabia for 4.2 percent while other significant producers included Iraq (25 737 tonnes), Tunisia (21 826 tonnes), Algeria (5 100 tonnes), the United Arab Emirates (3 350 tonnes) and the Syrian Arab Republic (2 350 tonnes). Although current aquaculture production levels are low, all these countries have high ambitions with further developing the sector, often for improved food self-sufficiency.

Regional Review North America 2020

North America This document summarizes the status and trends of aquaculture development in North America, focusing on Canada and the United States of America, with some discussion on Bermuda, Greenland, and Saint Pierre and Miquelon. Relevant aspects of the social and economic background of each country are followed by a description of current and evolving aquaculture practices and the needs of the industry in terms of resources, services and technologies. Impacts of aquaculture practices on the environment are discussed, followed by a consideration of the response by the industry to market demands and opportunities, and its contribution to social and economic development at regional, national and international levels. External pressures on the sector are described, including climate change and economic events, along with associated changes in governance. The review concludes with an analysis of the contributions of North American aquaculture to the Sustainable Development Goals, the FAO Strategic Objectives, and the FAO Blue Growth Initiative. Throughout the review, outstanding issues and success stories are identified, and a way forward is suggested for each main topic.

Regional Review Sub-Saharan Africa 2020

Sub-Saharan Africa This review provides an overview of the status, trends, challenges and projections for aquaculture in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and evaluates the major trends during previous five years. While the sector still faces various internal and external challenges, the inherent natural potential of the region and rapidly increasing demand for fish has resulted in increased prioritization of aquaculture in almost all SSA countries and the African Union and subsidiary bodies have given special attention to the sector development. In order to realize its full potential, the SSA region needs to address a combination of overarching factors limiting aquaculture development so far, such as ineffective development approaches, weak governance frameworks, underdeveloped value chains and low availability as well as the high cost of key production inputs. Strengthened value chains for tilapia and catfish, promotion of new species, improved biosecurity, continued development of certification and associated harmonized best practices, improved information systems and innovations to address climate-change related impacts are some of the matters to be addressed. Financial institutions and private sector (national and international) have equally started investing, even though in the global picture such interventions may seem negligible, which makes the continent to call for more and higher levels technical and financial assistance from international partners. Upscale the status of production and productivity via healthy investments would help the sector to generate a variety of benefits including food security, livelihoods, employment, domestic and intra-regional markets, foreign currency income and other socio-economic benefits.

Ahead of the GCA +20, a series of webinars were organized on various topics relevant to the sustainable development of aquaculture. The first of these was a presentation of advanced (pre-final) versions of The State of World Aquaculture 2020 and six Regional Reviews during the week of 26–29 October 2020, the original dates of the GCA +20, which was postponed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

These webinars were convened by FAO, in partnership with the Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific (NACA) and the World Fisheries Trust. For each review, a presentation of key messages was followed by a panel discussion. Question and answer sessions provided opportunity for interested parties to comment on the reviews, ahead of their final publication.

Please use the links below to view the recordings of each webinar (external website).


Uwe Barg

Responsible NFI officers by region:

Austin Stankus, NA - North America

Alessandro Lovatelli, LAC - Latin America and The Caribbean

Alessandro Lovatelli, NENA - Near East and North Africa

Ana Menezes, SSA - Sub-Saharan African

Weimin Miao - Asia

Uwe Barg - Europe