Aquaculture would take a 10 percent annual growth to fill the world fish demand-supply gap in the early 2020s

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By Milthon Lujan

Rome, Italy.- A short-term projection model is developed to assess and monitor potential future fish demand and supply gaps at the country (nearly 200 countries or territories), regional (about 40 country groups), and global levels for nine species groups.

Salient results at the global, regional and country levels are presented in the main text. Key results for all countries and all the nine species groups (including both standard and conservative projections) are documented in the appendix.

The results indicate that:

(i) if fish prices and consumer preferences remain the same, income growth would drive world per capita fish demand up from 20 kg/year in the mid-2010s to 25 kg/year in the early 2020s (or 23 kg/year under the conservative projection);

(ii) the income-driven per capita fish demand hike, combined with population growth, would drive world fish demand up by 47 million tonnes (or 31 million tonnes under the conservative projection);

(iii) the 19-million-tonne fish supply growth generated by the trend growth of world aquaculture production would cover only 40 percent of the projected demand growth (or 62 percent of the conservative projection), leaving a fish demand-supply gap of
28 million tonnes (or 16 million tonnes under the conservative projection) in the early 2020s;

(iv) the demand-supply gap for shellfish (i.e. crustaceans and molluscs) would be bigger than that for finfish – they would account for, respectively, 55 percent and 45 percent of the 28-million-tonne fish demand-supply gap;

(v) while world aquaculture production following its recent trend would grow 4.5 percent annually from the mid-2010s to the early 2020s, it would take a 9.9 percent annual growth (or 6.9 percent under the conservative projection) to fill the world fish demand-supply gap in the early 2020s;

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(vi) the trend aquaculture growth in only 17 countries (or 24 countries under the conservative projection) would be sufficient to cover the demand growth driven by population and income growth; excess demand is expected to occur in 170 countries (or 163 countries under the conservative projection); and

(vii) should the world aquaculture production fall short of the required annual growth rate (i.e. 9.9 percent or 6.9 percent
under the standard or conservative projection), and assuming world capture fisheries production would remain at the current level, the world fish price would have to increase to reduce fish demand in order to clear the market (i.e. no demand-supply

Results generated by the short-term projection model are useful for policymaking, development aids, business or investment planning, and other decision-making by various stakeholders in aquaculture and fisheries. They are a complement to and can
potentially enhance the understanding of the results of more sophisticated forecasting models such as the OECD-FAO Fish Model and the World Bank-IFPRI-FAO Fish to 2030 model.

Reference (open):
Cai, J. & Leung, P.S. 2017. Short-term projection of global fish demand and supply gaps. FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Technical Paper No. 607. Rome, FAO. 

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