Newswise — GAINESVILLE, Fla. --- The world’s fisheries are a great source of protein, but even with the best management, they won’t be able to meet the needs of a global population expected to exceed nine billion by 2050, a University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences resource economics expert said.
Aquaculture must grow, said James Anderson, a UF/IFAS food and resource economics professor.
Aquaculture production is expected increase by more than 60 percent and account for nearly two-thirds of all seafood supplied for human consumption by 2030, said Anderson, who’s also director of the UF/IFAS Institute for Sustainable Food Systems.
Anderson made his remarks at the opening plenary of the Aquaculture 2016 Conference in Las Vegas, Feb. 23.
Despite global growth, surprisingly the United States has seen almost no growth in seafood consumption on a per capita basis, he said. “In fact, domestic per capita consumption of seafood has declined by about 10 percent since the late 1980s, despite the federally recommended dietary guidelines to substantially increase seafood consumption,” Anderson said. However, consumption of some species, notably shrimp, salmon, tilapia and pangasius catfish, have all grow rapidly. They are all mostly imported and farm-raised.
Additionally, U.S. production of marine and coastal aquaculture has been stagnant for 30 years, he said. By comparison, Norway produced about the same volume of aquaculture as the U.S. in the early 1990s; now, it produces more than 500 percent more than the U.S. in its marine and coastal areas.
Anderson urged those in the aquaculture industry to continue to adopt best management practices and to do more to explain fish farming to the consumer.
“The aquaculture sector must communicate the value of its products to consumers and investors better,” Anderson said.For instance, aquaculture is highly efficient in feed conversion, water use and is relatively low in effluent and greenhouse gas emissions, he said.
“The sector has made great strides in developing sustainable practices to produce a highly nutritious food that tastes good and can be good for the environment,” Anderson said. “The industry must do a better job to manage disease, improve feed formulations, control fraud, mislabeling and unsustainable practices. It must do more to work with the environmental community, traditional fisheries and to encourage regulatory reform.”