Arxiu d'etiquetes: aquaculture

How much fish do we eat?

This article is included in the fishing section, so we will talk about how much fish do we eat worldwide. To do it, we focused on a 2014 FAO report (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations). 

The global production of fish and other aquatic organisms includes two types of activities: on the one hand, the capture or fishing of wild organisms and, on the other hand, their production in aquaculture. This production has increased steadily in the last five decades. The reason is an increase on the demand of fish to be feed: in the 1960s, each person ate 9.9 kg on average every year, while in 2012 this value was about 19.2 kg.

In 50 years it has been doubled the average consumption of fish, achieving 20 kg per person on 2012.

There are some reasons that explain this increase: the worldwide population growth, rising incomes and urbanization, a large expansion of fish production and an improvement on the distribution channels.

EnglishThis picture shows the evolution of the world population from 1800 to 2015 and the increase of the fish consumption for person in the 1960s (9.9 kg) and in the 2014 (19.2 kg). Picture done by Marc Arenas Camps.

China has been the most responsible country of the growth in the availability of fish due to its big rise of the fish production, mainly in aquaculture. Its consumption for person grew in an annual rate of 6% between 1990 and 2010 till 35.1 kg in 2010.

Although developing countries have increased the annual consumption of fish for person, developed countries are still which have the highest levels of consumption, but both are being more equal. An important part of the eaten fish in the developed countries is imported, what explain that the demand in this countries is equal despite its production has decreased.

On the other hand, in the developing countries fish comes from local fisheries and they eat seasonal fish. Nevertheless, these countries are presenting a diversification of the species because it has increased the incomes and wealth.

CapeVerde_16Feb_195In developing countries, the consumption of fish comes from local fisheries and they eat seasonal species. Picture from Greenpeace.

In 1996 there were a maximum in the captures, achieving 93.3 million tonnes, followed by 2011 with 93,7 million tones. In addition, excluding anchoveta (Engraulis ringens) captures, 2012 gets another production maximum (86.6 million tonnes). Concerning fish production in marine waters, this was about 82.6 million tonnes in 2011 and 79.7 million tonnes in 2012. In these years, 18 countries (11 in Asia) were responsible of 76% of total marine captures.

18 countries were responsible of 76% of total marine captures.

Captures in inland waters were about 11.6 million tones in 2012, what represents a 13% of total captures. Finally, production in aquaculture was about 90.4 million tonnes in 2012, including 66.6 million tonnes of fish (43.5 were produced only for China) and 23.8 million tonnes of seaweed (China represents 13.5 million tonnes).

ConsumENGFish consumption during 2012 (in million tonnes) according to FAO. Picture done by Marc Arenas Camps.

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Fishing and general state of fisheries

This is the first post in the topic Impacts of the fishing, whose goal is to expose the impact of fisheries in the sea populations and them ecosystems.


Fishing consists on the exploitation of the aquatic populations that exsists naturaly. Since 1950, it has been observed an increase of the natural captures until 1990 due to the incorporation of motors and sonars in the ships. As of 1990, the capture are around 90 million tonnes. Nowadays, the fishing pressure is so high that the fisheries tend to collapse because the adults cannot produce enough juvenile fishes. The following picture shows the evolution of the natural captures (blue) and the evolution of aquaculture production (green) (FAO).

evolució pesca

The captures of the fisheries have different components. On one side, the capture of the species of interest (goal species) and, on the other side, the other species with no interest (bycatch). Bycatch can be divided into species with low value or discards. Discards consists on species captured unintentionally because they economic value is non-existent, species legally protect or with a bad appearance. Fishing by trawling discards 40% of the captures.

A fishing stock consists on a population or a piece of it that is exploited as a whole. Depending on the exploitation of the stocks, these can be non-fully exploited (blue), when the fishing pressure don’t affect the population; overexploited (red), when the juvenile fishes aren’t enough to recover the adult population; or fully exploited (green), when the stock tends to collapse.


A 10-times reduction on the fishing resources of the continental shelf in just a century has been reported (Christensen et al. 2004), and a reduction too in the resources of the abyssal plain (Devine et al. 2006) and the open sea.

The climate change and the fishing are the main factors that impact the sea. The effects of the fishing take place in the organisms and ecosystems.


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