The aquaculture industry is rapidly growing with fish produced by aquaculture nearly equalling the amount of capture fish. Aquaculture production has reached 82.1 million tonnes in 2018 (FAO), growing at 7.5 percent per year since 1970. It is thought that developing countries will drive major changes and the expansion in fisheries and aquaculture production, its trade and consumption. The global growth in fish production will be driven by an increase in aquaculture output since the amount of capture fish is generally static. In 2018, aquaculture accounted for 46 percent of the total fish production and 52% of fish for human consumption. Aquaculture production is projected to reach 109 million tonnes in 2030, an increase of 32% (26 million tonnes) over 2018 (FAO - 2020 SOFIA report). 

The graph below illustrates the world fisheries and aquaculture production. 

(Source: FAO - 2020 SOFIA report)

Regional breakdown

The FAO states that production of farmed fish is dominated by Asia (89% of the global total in volume terms in the last 20 years). Over the same period, the shares of Africa and the Americas have increased, while those of Europe and Oceania have decreased slightly (Source: FAO - 2020 SOFIA report).

The table below show the 15 countries that produced 92.7 percent of all farmed food fish in 2012 (FAO: The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture, 2014):

Aquaculture feed

Fishmeal and fish oil are important ingredients in aquaculture feed. As stated in FAO's 2020 SOFIA report, "fishmeal and fish oil are still considered the most nutritious and most digestible ingredients for farmed fish, as well as the major source of omega-3 fatty acids (eicosapentaenoic acid [EPA] and docosahexaenoic acid [DHA])." 

The production of fishmeal is about 5 million tonnes each year. A growing share of fishmeal and fish oil is being produced from fish by-products: "It is now estimated that these by-products are used to produce up to 25–35 percent of the total volume of fishmeal and fish oil, but regional differences exist". (FAO's 2020 SOFIA report). Aquaculture production will be able to expand because of improved efficiency in the use of fishmeal and its specialised uses.


Information on fishmeal and its use in aquaculture can be found in the articles below: