The global fish production peaked at around 188 million metric tons in 2018 with aquaculture representing nearly 52% of the world fish production. Fisheries and aquaculture are increasingly becoming a primary source of protein, foreign exchange, livelihoods, and well-being of the population in the Asia-Pacific region. According to the Food and Agricultural Organization’s (FAO) data for the period of 2010-17, China dominated the global fish production, peaking at 26.93 million metric tons in 2018. To date, the production solely from aquaculture continues to increase at a steady rate of 5% since 2016. Driven by higher incomes and urbanization, global consumption of fish is growing at a faster rate than the global population. Hence, the aquaculture share in the regional supply is expected to expand in a way that captures fisheries and aquaculture will be contributing equal amounts by the end of the forecast period.
Key Market Trends
Export Oriented Aquaculture to Drive the Fish Production
Aquaculture expanded steadily in the Asia-Pacific region in the past years, contributing to 40% of the global fishery production. The exports of aquaculture products in many Asian countries are earning half a billion dollars per year, which is primarily contributing to aquaculture growth in the Asia-Pacific region. On the market side, aquaculture export growth in the Asian market is majorly driven by Europe and North American markets. More than half of the domestic production in the countries, such as Vietnam, Thailand, Philippines, India, and Indonesia are destined only for Europe and North American markets, with Vietnam covering nearly three-quarters of production to export share in 2017.
However, increased government support and improved transportation infrastructure increased the importance of international trade in the last ten years. For instance, in India, the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) launched an initiative to develop a GPS-based database of export-oriented aquaculture farms in the country to ensure their traceability and quality control. Similarly in Indonesia, the PROTEKAN (Program to Increase Exports of Fisheries) program is aimed at intensifying the fishery exports. Thus the increasing export-oriented production of fish is likely to further enhance the production thereby enhancing the fish consumption in the world.
China to Dominate the Global Fish Production
China is one of the largest producers of fish in the world, peaking at 26.93 million metric tons in 2018 and is expected to witness a nominal CAGR over the forecast period. The freshwater fishes dominated the Chinese fisheries aquaculture sector, accounting for nearly 93% of the total aquaculture fish production in the country during 2018-19, followed by marine fished at 5.6% and the rest was garnered by the diadromous fishes during the same period.
The country claims to have a total of 18.7 million people who are active in fisheries, including the allied industries. However, the average wage of the fisherman in the country stood at USD 2,685 in 2018, even below the industrial wage, which is thus limiting the mainstream nature of aquaculture in the country.
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