The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization issued a report this weekend showing that farm-raised fish supplies are nearly matching the catch from the world's commercial fleet. The report shows about 50 million tons of farm-raised fish were eaten in 2004, compared to 66 million tons of fish harvested in the wild.
The challenge, according to the report, is that even the rise of farm-raised fish will not be enough to meet future demand. Lack of land and fresh water for more aquaculture operations combined with a leveling off of wild-catch supplies may limit the amount of fish available, the report says.
Advocacy groups note that changes in fishing policies could head off future trouble if action were taken soon. Aquaculture, which has grown a lot in China, is seeing some challenges because of a lack of fishmeal for use by fish farmers. Fishmeal is ground from unmarketable wild-caught fish and used to feed carnivorous fish, such as salmon, on farms. A plateau of supply in wild-caught fish will impact aquaculture, the report notes.