July 11, 2019
Whiteleg shrimp, Atlantic salmon world's top seafood favorites
Consumers have so much more choices of farmed aquatic species to avail of today than over 17 years ago, according to the latest global aquaculture production statistics contained in a report on the "top 10 species groups in global aquaculture 2017" and released on July 1 by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation.
In 17 years, the number of aquatic species farmed increased by over 100 from 254 in 1990 to 424 in 2017.
From 1950 to 2017, 608 species items-which include algae seaweeds-were recorded under the Aquatic Sciences and Fisheries Information System (ASFIS) list of aquatic species. They have been farmed in global aquaculture.
Among the species items, whiteleg shrimp was at the top in terms of value, followed by Atlantic salmon. This means these are the two major international seafood commodities favoured by consumers worldwide.
Among aquaculture species groups, however, carps are the unchallenged No. 1 in value and even in terms of quantity.
The group "carps, barbels and other cyprinids" were farmed in 92 countries with total production of 28 million tonnes (worth US$61 billion), accounting for a quarter of world aquaculture in terms of both quantity and value.
China and India are the two major carp-producing countries, accounting for 71% and 14% of world carp aquaculture production tonnage, respectively, in 2017.
As per FAO, 38 carp species items were farmed worldwide in 2017, and they are primarily staple fish for domestic consumption.
Tilapias, though, are the most popular aquaculture species group as they are farmed in 127 countries as of 2017. Major tilapia-farming countries include China (27% of world tilapia aquaculture tonnage in 2017), Indonesia (22%), Egypt (16%), Bangladesh (5.7%), Brazil (4.9%), the Philippines (4.6%) and Vietnam (4%).
Tilapias are No. 4 in terms of value ($11 billion), while catfishes are No. 5 ($10.6 billion).
The FAO statistics record 18 tilapia species items farmed worldwide in 2017, and Nile tilapia (No. 8 species item in terms of value) is the dominant species in the group, with production totalling 4.1 million tonnes. The figure is an underestimate because the 1.3 million tonnes production in 2017 accounted under "Tilapia nei" is mostly Nile tilapia.
On the other hand, there were27 catfish species items farmed in 86 countries in 2017, including pangasius catfishes, which constitute 51% of world catfish aquaculture tonnage, and Clarias catfishes (24%).
Major catfish-farming countries include Vietmam (24% of world tonnage), Indonesia (23%), China (20%), India (9.9%), Bangladesh (9.4%), Nigeria (3.5%) and the US (2.7%).
As per the FAO report, China is the largest aquaculture producer, accounting for 57% of world aquaculture production in 2017 by live weight quantity and 60% by farmgate value.