Global per capita capture fish production, 2000-2010. Graphic: FAO, Fisheries and Aquaculture Department

(FAO) – In 2010, capture fisheries and aquaculture supplied the world with 148 million tonnes of fish, crustaceans and molluscs. Of this, 128 million tonnes was used as human food, providing an estimated per capita food supply of about 19 kg (live weight equivalent). Globally, fish provides about 17 percent of the population’s average per capita intake of animal protein.

Although capture fisheries dominate world output, aquaculture accounts for a growing percentage of total fish supply, rising from a share of approximately 13 percent in 1990 to 40 percent in 2010. Aquaculture provides close to half (47 percent) of all fish supplies destined for direct human food consumption.

Most of the fish landed and not used for direct human consumption is processed into fishmeal and oil for use as animal feed, mainly for carnivorous aquatic species (such as shrimp, salmon, trout, eels, sea bass and sea bream), but also for pigs, chickens, household pets, cattle, etc.

Worldwide, capture fisheries and aquaculture provide a source of income and livelihood for 55 million people through direct employment; overall there are more than 220 million jobs in the global fish industry. Millions of rural dwellers – many of them women, particularly in Asia and Africa – are involved in seasonal or occasional fishing activities and have few alternative sources of income and employment. Employment in aquaculture is increasing more rapidly than world population growth and now accounts for one-quarter of all the workers directly involved in the fisheries sector. Employment in fishing is decreasing in capital- intensive economies.

Over the 2000–2010 decade, the production of capture fisheries fluctuated between 90 and 95 million tonnes per annum, with more than half of the global catch coming from the Pacific Ocean. Global production is typically influenced by variations in catches of anchoveta (Peruvian anchovy) – a species extremely susceptible to oceanographic conditions determined by El Niño Southern Oscillation – in the South- east Pacific. Fluctuations in other species and regions tend to compensate for each other to a large extent.

FAO Statistical Yearbook 2013

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