July 15, 2024

The U.N. says more aquatic animals were farmed than fished in 2022

That’s the first time in history

Farm-raised Atlantic salmon move across a conveyor belt as they are brought aboard a harvesting boat.

ROME (AP) — The total global volume of fish, shrimp, clams and other aquatic animals that are harvested by farming has topped the amount fished in the wild from the world’s waters for the first time ever, the United Nations reported June 7.

The U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization, in its latest report on fisheries and aquaculture — or farming in water — says the global catch and harvest brought in more than 185 million tons of aquatic animals in 2022, the most recent year for which statistics are available.

Experts say the milestone in human history had been expected, as the hauls from fisheries have largely stagnated over the last three decades — largely because of limits in nature.

Manuel Barange, who heads FAO’s fisheries and aquaculture division, said aquaculture has benefited from a growing recognition of the nutritional benefits — like Omega 3 and other micronutrients found in food from aquatic animals — and lesser environmental impact than food derived from land animals.

The total amount of aquatic animals captured in the wild fell from 91.6 million tons in 2021 to 91 million tons the following year, FAO said in its latest State of the World’s Fisheries and Aquaculture report.

Global production rose to 94.4 million in 2022, up from 91.1 million a year earlier, it said.

Asia was the source of more than 90% of all aquaculture production of aquatic animals, the FAO added.

Some 90% of aquatic animals that are farmed or fished go to human consumption, with the remainder going to other uses like feed for other animals or fish oils.

The most common fish that are captured in the world’s oceans, seas, rivers, lakes and ponds include Peruvian anchovies, skipjack tuna and Alaskan pollock, while freshwater carp, oysters, clams, shrimp, tilapia and prawns are among the most harvested animal life.