Study: Farmed fish half of seafood consumption

Farmed fish will represent half of global seafood consumption this year, according to a study published in the 7 September edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Health-conscious consumers are driving demand for seafood, which is putting additional pressure on the wild fish used to produce fish feed, said the study’s authors.

“As long as we are a health-conscious population trying to get our most healthy oils from fish, we are going to be demanding more of aquaculture and putting a lot of pressure on marine fisheries to meet that need,” said lead author Rosamond Naylor, an environmental sciences professor at Stanford University and director of its Program on Food Security and the Environment.

Aquaculture’s share of global fishmeal and fish oil consumption more than doubled in the past 10 years to 68 percent and 88 percent, respectively, said the study’s authors. In 2006, global farmed fish production totaled 51.7 million metric tons, and about 20 million metric tons of wild fish were harvested to produce fishmeal.

“It can take up to 5 pounds of wild fish to produce 1 pound of salmon, and we eat a lot of salmon,” said Naylor.

Reducing the amount of fish oil in a salmon’s diet is one way to make salmon farming more environmentally sustainable, explained Naylor.

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