More than 1 billion global citizens rely on fish as their main source of animal protein; however, aquaculture can easily be overlooked. This industry is responsible for the production of aquatic animals and plants, just like agriculture is the production of animals and plants on land. Fish, shellfish, and seaweed are popular types of aquatic production, and can be cultivated in natural or controlled marine or freshwater environments. Essentially, aquaculture is underwater agriculture.
Fish makes up to 17 percent of the global population’s intake of animal protein, providing billions of people with necessary nutrients, vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids. These nutritional benefits reduce the risk of heart disease and lower cholesterol and blood pressure. A portion of 150 grams of fish can provide up to 60 percent of an adult’s daily protein requirements, representing a crucial nutritional component in countries where total protein intake levels may be low.
Fish and the aquaculture industry not only provide health benefits, but also are essential to supporting the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people. 10-12 percent of the world’s population depends on fisheries and aquaculture, predominantly in Asia and Africa. Additionally, as one of the most traded food commodities, the industry supports jobs, livelihoods, and global and regional economies. In fact, employment in the industry has grown faster than the world’s population!
As one of the fastest growing food production industries in the world, aquaculture can deliver lasting benefits for global food security and economic growth. It is a vital industry to our increasing populations, and a major player in providing the world with healthy, nutritious food.