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Farmed Fish Surpasses Beef Production

Farmed Fish Surpasses Beef Production

More People Expected to Eat Farmed Fish than Wild in 2013

By Amanda Brodhagen,

Farmed fish production exceeds world beef production, according to new report issued by the Earth Policy Institute in Washington, DC.

The aquaculture industry grew to a record 66 million tons, compared to beef production at 63 million tons. It is projected that 2013 will be the first year that people will eat more farmed fish than caught in the wild.

Since the late 1980s, beef production has slowed, while wild fish catches have remained stagnant. The findings suggest that getting more food from the wild may have already reached its limits, noting that much of the world’s oceans are already fished to their limits. Other issues are relating to logistics, boats are having to use more fuel to travel to deeper waters to capture fish and are often coming back with smaller catches.

The growing middle class in certain pockets of the world has meant that raising sources of protein like beef and fish in feedlots or fish farms has become a reality. While there is a role for other types of agriculture to help feed the world, certain types of operations are requiring more inputs. Looking at efficiency, cattle consume on average 7 pounds of grain to produce a pound of beef, while fish take less than two pounds of feed to produce a pound of protein. While pork and poultry are the most commonly consumed protein worldwide, aquiculture production is growing the fastest.

Aquiculture outperforming beef production marks a historical shift in global food production.


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