Fisheries & Aquaculture

Fishery and aquaculture have always helped to feed the global population. However, concerns over the sustainability of industrial fishing are increasingly shaping the discussion in this agricultural sector. Overfishing threatens the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people who live from fishing. The South China Sea is a prime example of a region that is threatened by overfishing and a possible fish stock collapse.

The two biggest fishing nations, China and Indonesia, as well as their neighbors, have been in a protracted political struggle over fishing rights in the area and adjacent territories. While fishing fleets spread out to reach more remote fishing grounds, the use of aquaculture is becoming more widespread, especially in Asia. It is increasingly viewed as a more sustainable alternative that can help secure the food supply of a growing global population.

Global fish production
178m mt
Leading fish producer
China
Global number of fishers and fish farmers
59.5m

Industry insights

Fish & Seafood Report 2021

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Market size

World fish production grows steadily
Global fish production from 2002 to 2021 (in million metric tons)
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Global fish production was estimated to reach a volume of 178.1 million metric tons by 2021. In the past decade production has grown by roughly 32 million metric tons. This includes both aquaculture production as well as wild fishing.

Global fish production by catching method
Global Marine and inland capture of fish
Production of Atlantic salmon worldwide

Market segments

The rise of aquaculture
World fish production from 2007 to 2021, by fishing and aquaculture (in million metric tons)
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In 2019, global fish production from aquaculture came to an estimated 85.3 million metric tons. It came close to the 91.3 million tons produced by fishing.

The gap between the output of wild fish catching and fish farming, whether on the high seas or on land, has become ever closer. In the last decade alone, aquaculture output has grown by almost 30 million tons. If this trend continues, farmed fish will soon replace caught fish as the number one source of fish.

Top species groups in aquaculture
Leading global aquaculture producers
Global aquaculture market value forecast

Regional overview

China, the fishing juggernaut
Top 10 fishing nations worldwide in 2018 (in million metric tons)*
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In 2018, China was the leading producer of captured fish, crustaceans, molluscs, and other sealife. China caught fish and other seafood with a volume of 14.65 million metric tons. It caught more than twice as much as the next biggest fish catching nation, Indonesia.

Including Russia, six of the leading ten fishing nations of the world were Asian nations. In aquaculture the leading position of Asian nations is even more pronounced.

Regional distribution of fishing vessels
Food fish supply by world region
Aquaculture production by world region

Industry definition

The fisheries and aquaculture category offers data on the commercial business of catching fish and other aquatic animals. Commercial fishing involves the harvesting of wild fish. In contrast, aquaculture is the cultivation and harvesting of aquatic populations under controlled conditions for human consumption, in both fresh and saltwater.

Within this sector, Statista provides information about the fishery operations and trade of different nations. Data coverage includes overviews of various fish species landings, production values, industry revenues, and the final fishery products.

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