A snapshot of modern aquaculture

trout aquacultureIt’s always very useful to read a thumbnail sketch of a topic. In a paper on aquaculture – Aquaculture and its Distribution in Turkey, published in the Journal of Aquaculture Engineering and Fisheries Research – Süheyla Balci Akova of Istanbul University does just that.

As an introduction to his main subject of Turkish aquaculture, the author sprints through some interesting background information:

“Efforts to cultivate fisheries have increased over the last years. Fish farming in channels, creeks, pools and rice fields in Far East dates back to prehistory. Marine species farming is actually a very ancient practice. Some sources date mariculture back to 2000 BC. It is also suggested that the Japanese farmed oysters on the tidal coasts in the 4th century BC.

“Globally, Aquaculture harvest increased to 90.4 million tons by 2012. The income produced amounts to 144.4 billion US dollars. 66.6 million tons of this yield is obtained from fish and 23.8 million tons from aquatic algae. These figures are 70.5 million tons of fish and 26.1 million tons of aquatic algae in 2013, respectively. China alone produces 43.5 million tons of fish and 13.5 million tons of aquatic algae.

“The increase in aquacultural fish harvest accounts for 6.2% from 2000 through 2012. During the same period, the increase in Africa is much higher (11.7%). It is 10% in Latin America and the Caribbean Islands and 8.2% in Asia excluding China. The growth rate accounts for 5.5% (12.7% in 1990 to 2000) in China as the biggest aquafarmer. As a matter of fact, 92.7% of aquacultural (food) products is harvested by 15 producer countries.

“Employment in this sector is considerably increasing. Across the world, 4.4% of economically active 1.3 billion people were employed in agriculture in 2012. Generally speaking, the fishery harvest increased from 13.13 million tons in 1990 to 66.6 million tons in 2012. Aquaculture covers around 42.2% of global fish production and is annually growing more than 10%. Aquacultural production has turned out to be the most rapidly growing sector. Moreover, the most rapid employment increase was recorded in this sector. It employs about 55 million people, half of whom are female. 10-12% of the global population deals with fishing.

“The share of developing countries in global fish export is 50%, China being the forerunner. 600 aquatic species are farmed in about 190 countries. Marine fish farming is particularly important for the developing countries. To better illustrate, 52.6% of animal meat (produced on land) is consumed by developed countries, whereas 86.4% of fishery products is consumed by developing countries.”

The introduction contains further statistics about the state of fishing over the last few decades. The article goes on to detail the sophisticated aquaculture programme in Turkey, and is an essential resource for anyone interested in the subject.

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