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Don't Forget the Fish: Fish Production Needs to Increase

10 January 2013

UK - In the latest issue of Animal Frontiers, researcher James Muir explains that fish production will have to increase to meet global demand. He writes that fish are often overlooked as an important source of nutrients and protein.

“However, in 2009, fish accounted for 16.6 per cent of the world’s intake of animal protein and 6.5 per cent of all protein consumed,” writes Mr Muir, professor emeritus at the University of Stirling, UK.

According to Muir, global fish consumption increased rapidly over the last 50 years. The per capita food fish supply increased from 9.9 kg in the 1960s to 18.4 kg in kilograms. Most of this increase came from developed countries in North America, Europe and Oceania. As people earned more money, they bought more animal products. This led to better nutrition and development, especially in infants.

This trend is likely to continue. According to experts, the world population will grow from 7.1 million today to 9 million in 2050. Mr Muir writes that the aquaculture industry will have to double or triple production to meet demand. He predicts that aquaculture will also increase as capture fisheries deal with overfishing and the ecological effects of climate change.

Mr Muir is concerned that as demand increases, prices will increase too. Poorer people might not be able to afford to eat fish. To continue to feed the world, Muir urges policymakers to help aquaculture keep up with demand.

“With a diverse range of species, and a well placed selection of systems and production approaches, access to lower cost aquatic foods also has the potential to be sustained and expanded,” writes Mr Muir.

To read the full paper, go to:

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