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.
Elizabeth Lee

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

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7537
JPY
USD
103.79
GBP
USD
0.6032
CAD
USD
1.0957
INR
USD
60.522

Rates may not be current.