News / Economy

    Farm-Raised Fish Must Double to Meet Growing Global Demand

    Farm Raised Fish Must Double To Meet Growing Global Demandi
    X
    June 25, 2014 2:24 AM
    As the world population grows, there is a growing need for more food - including seafood. By 2030, the World Bank expects that 70% of the demand for fish will come from Asia. A recent report led by the World Resources Institute finds that global fish production needs to more than double by the middle of the century to meet that demand. Elizabeth Lee reports from a fish farm in Imperial, California.

    As the world population grows, there is a growing need for more food - including seafood. By 2030, the World Bank expects that 70 percent of the demand for fish will come from Asia. A recent report led by the World Resources Institute finds that global fish production needs to more than double by the middle of the century to meet that demand. The WRI study says the world’s oceans, lakes and rivers are fished to their limit, and it encourages "sustainable growth" of aquaculture or fish farms.
     
    In an ancient lake bed 26 kilometers north of the California-Mexico border, there is fresh water and new life. 
     
    “We’re probably the largest catfish farm this side of the Mississippi...the largest catfish farm in California,” said Craig Elliott, the co-owner of Imperial Catfish.
     
    Elliott said that several times a week, thousands of kilograms of fish from his ponds end up in Asian grocery stores where live fish is in high demand. 
     
    “In fact, we can’t really produce enough fish for the demand,” he said.
     
    As demand for seafood increases worldwide, so do the number of fish farms. 
     
    “It’s a relatively young industry but it grows at about 9 percent a year and we expect to keep that growth rate going in the next couple of decades,” said Mike Velings, founder of Aqua-Spark, a company that invests in sustainable aquaculture businesses.
     
    Velings said China is the world leader in producing farmed fish. There are very few farms in the United States.
     
    “The U.S. relies heavily on wild caught and on imports and only one percent of the world’s farming today is done in the U.S,” he added. 
     
    Elliott pointed out that aquaculture is not an easy business in which to make a profit.
     
    “You put a fish in at this big and it’s going to be 18 months to two years before they are two to three pounds and so you have all that big outlay and you have no return for a long long time.  Some people make it, some of them don’t,” said Elliott.
     
    There are also environmental concerns. Activist Nathan Weaver cites the polluting impact of uneaten fish meal and waste products from farmed fish, in addition to the disruption of the natural food chain.
     
    “Many of the species of fish we like to eat are large predatory fish, they are things like tuna or salmon that are already two or three levels up the food chain. So in order to farm these large carnivores you have to actually feed them smaller fish and the concern is that in order to keep a tuna farm or a salmon farm going you’ll end up having to catch all the little fish in the ocean,” said Weaver.
     
    But the World Resources Institute says public policies, technology and private initiatives have prompted improvements in fish farms. For example, U.S.-based Whole Foods Market sells farm-raised seafood from environmentally-conscious farms that do not use pesticides, antibiotics or added growth hormones.  
     
    For aquaculture to continue to grow, WRI calls for investments in technological innovations in areas that include breeding and disease control, and a shift to farming fish lower on the food chain, such as catfish. Elliott’s fish eat a mostly vegetarian diet, and he offers simple prescriptions for keeping his ponds free of pollution.
     
    “Don’t overfeed, don’t overcrowd, [and] you’re not going to have those issues,” he said.
     
    He plans to expand his farm to keep up with the demand.

    You May Like

    Egypt Orders Trial for Journalists Charged With Harboring Reporters

    Order targets journalists' union chief Yehia Qalash, Khaled al-Balshy and Gamal Abdel Rahim for allegedly spreading false news, harboring fugitive colleagues

    Nigerian Oil Production Falls as Militant Attacks Take Toll

    Country no longer Africa's petroleum king due to renewed militancy in its oil-producing region

    Video Tunisia’s Ennahda Party Begins a New Political Chapter

    Party now moves to separate its political and religious activities; change described by party members as pragmatic response to political and economic challenges facing Tunisia today

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    New Chapter for Tunisia's Ennahdai
    X
    Lisa Schlein
    May 31, 2016 1:56 PM
    Tunisia’s moderate Islamist Ennahda party says it is separating its religious and political activities in a broader bid to mark its so-called Muslim Democratic identity. The move appears to open a new chapter for a party that bounced back from the political wilderness of Tunisia’s pre-revolution days to become a key player in the North African country, and a member of the current coalition government. From Tunis, Lisa Bryant takes a look at how Tunisians are viewing its latest step.
    Video

    Video New Chapter for Tunisia's Ennahda

    Tunisia’s moderate Islamist Ennahda party says it is separating its religious and political activities in a broader bid to mark its so-called Muslim Democratic identity. The move appears to open a new chapter for a party that bounced back from the political wilderness of Tunisia’s pre-revolution days to become a key player in the North African country, and a member of the current coalition government. From Tunis, Lisa Bryant takes a look at how Tunisians are viewing its latest step.
    Video

    Video New Mobile App Allows Dutch Muslims to Rate their Imams

    If a young Dutch-Moroccan app developer has his way, Muslims in the Netherlands will soon be able to rate their imams online. Mohamed Mouman says imams rarely get feedback from their followers. He believes his app can give prayer leaders a better picture of what's happening in their communities — and can also keep young people from being radicalized. Serginho Roosblad reports from Amsterdam.
    Video

    Video Moscow Condemns NATO Plans to Beef Up Defense in Eastern Europe, Baltics

    NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Monday an upcoming "landmark summit" will enhance the alliance's defensive and deterrent presence in eastern Europe and the Baltics. He is visiting Poland ahead of the NATO Summit in Warsaw. Zlatica Hoke reports
    Video

    Video Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conference

    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video US Military's Fallen Honored With Flags

    Memorial Day is a long weekend for most Americans. For some, it is the unofficial start of summer -- local swimming pools open and outdoor grilling season begins. But Memorial Day remains true to its origins -- a day to remember the U.S. military's fallen.
    Video

    Video Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    The Rolling Thunder caravan of motorcycles rolled into Washington Sunday, to support the U.S. military on the country's Memorial Day weekend
    Video

    Video A New Reading Program Pairs Kids with Dogs

    Dogs, it is said, are man's best friend. What some researchers have discovered is that they can also be a friend to a struggling reader. A group called Intermountain Therapy Animals trains dogs to help all kinds of kids with reading problems — from those with special needs to those for whom English is a second language. Faiza Elmasry has more on the New York chapter of R.E.A.D., or Reading Education Assistance Dogs, in this piece narrated by Faith Lapidus.
    Video

    Video Fan Base Grows for Fictional Wyoming Sheriff Longmire

    Around the world, the most enduring symbol of the U.S. is that of the cowboy. A very small percentage of Americans live in Western rural areas, and fewer still are cowboys. But the fascination with the American West is kept alive by such cultural offerings as “Longmire,” a series of books and TV episodes about a fictional Wyoming sheriff. VOA’s Greg Flakus recently spoke with Longmire’s creator, Craig Johnson, and filed this report from Houston.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video F-35 Fighter Jet Draws Criticisms as Costs Mount

    America’s latest fighter plane, the F-35, has been mired in controversy. Critics cite cost, faulty design, and the attempt to use it to fill multiple roles. Even the pilot’s helmet is controversial. VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Concerns Over Civilian Suffering as Iraqi Forces Surround Fallujah

    Thousands of residents are trapped inside the IS-held city ahead of a full scale Iraqi offensive aimed at retaking it.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    World Currencies

    EUR
    USD
    0.8965
    JPY
    USD
    111.01
    GBP
    USD
    0.6830
    CAD
    USD
    1.3026
    INR
    USD
    67.196

    Rates may not be current.