Seafood is a major source of protein for the global population, with an average worldwide consumption of seafood around 18.4kg per capita, or 16.6% of animal protein intake. In some developing nations, fish can provide more than 50% of the population’s animal protein. Consumption of seafood is expected to rise to 19.6kg per capita in the next 10 years and increasing demand and limited supply will drive up prices, particularly in premium markets.
Around 175 million tonnes of fishery products are produced each year. For capture fisheries, increased environmental guardianship is key to maintaining access to premium markets. In these markets, consumers are demanding better management of stocks to prevent overfishing and the use of more selective fishing techniques to reduce the impact on non-target species. Delivering seafood of consistent quality and ensuring food safety is also vital.
Aquaculture production has steadily increased since 1980, at an average annual rate of 8.8%. Aquaculture now provides more than 40% of total global seafood volume and this is expected to rise to 55% by 2020. In around two thirds of aquaculture production, fish are artificially fed so ensuring the availability of suitable feed is vital in managing the population. Protocols for managing from seed through harvest are also important in ensuring product quality and safety, and maintaining environmental sustainability.
New Zealand produces less than half a percent of the world’s seafood supply but close to 1% of the export value. Around 20% of the industry’s $1.56 billion export revenue is generated through aquaculture, and this is expected to reach $1 billion by 2025. The seafood sector is keen to develop new species for aquaculture as well as new high-value seafood products with increased consumer appeal. New Zealand is regarded as one of the most sustainably managed fisheries in the world and maintaining this record of environmental sustainability is also key for the continued success of the industry.