June 11, 2024


FAO: Aquaculture surpasses capture fisheries production


According to the latest report from the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), global fisheries and aquaculture production have reached unprecedented levels, with aquaculture surpassing capture fisheries production for the first time.


Global fisheries and aquaculture production surged to 223.2 million tonnes in 2022, marking a 4.4 percent increase from 2020. Of this, aquatic animals contributed 185.4 million tonnes, while algae production accounted for 37.8 million tonnes.


FAO Director-General QU Dongyu emphasised the need for transformative actions to strengthen aquatic food systems' efficiency, inclusiveness, resilience, and sustainability. The report, titled The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture (SOFIA) 2024, will be officially launched at the High-level event on ocean action "Immersed in Change" in San Jose, Costa Rica.


In a historic milestone, aquaculture production surpassed capture fisheries production in 2022, reaching an unprecedented 130.9 million tonnes globally. This achievement highlights aquaculture's potential to meet the rising demand for aquatic foods, provided sustainability remains a priority.


While a handful of countries dominate aquaculture, many low-income nations in Africa and Asia are yet to realize their full potential. Targeted policies, technology transfer, and responsible investment are crucial to bolster sustainable aquaculture in these regions.


The surge in aquatic food production underscores its pivotal role in addressing food insecurity and malnutrition worldwide. Global consumption of aquatic animal foods reached 162.5 million tonnes in 2021, with per capita consumption rising steadily since 1961. These foods provide essential nutrients and contribute significantly to global protein supply.


Despite the growth of aquaculture, capture fisheries remain vital, with global production remaining stable since the late 1980s. However, effective fisheries management is imperative to facilitate stock recovery and ensure sustainable production.


FAO projects a further increase in aquatic animal production and consumption by 2032, driven by aquaculture expansion and capture fisheries recovery. However, sustaining per capita consumption levels, particularly in Africa, poses challenges amid population growth.


Fisheries and aquaculture are critical sources of livelihoods for millions worldwide. While employment in the sector has seen a slight decline, gender inequality issues persist, highlighting the need for greater recognition of women's contributions.


SOFIA 2024 serves as a comprehensive analysis of global fishery stocks, trends, and the role of aquaculture in sustainable food systems. It underscores FAO's commitment to driving transformative change towards a more sustainable and equitable future in fisheries and aquaculture.


-      Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations

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