FAO reports: Statistical yearbook 2014 and Market competition between farmed and wild fish



FAO Fishery and Aquaculture Statistics 2014


The statistical yearbook 2014 was released in 2016. The major trend in global production of fish, crustaceans, molluscs and other aquatic animals was, that it continued to grow and reached 167.2 million tonnes in 2014.

Of this total, capture production was 93.4 million tonnes, an increase of 0.8 percent compared with the previous year. A new maximum in capture production (90.3 million tonnes) was marked in 2014 when the highly variable anchoveta (Engraulis ringens) catches are excluded. Aquaculture production has increased at an average annual growth rate of 5.8 percent, from 44.3 million tonnes in 2005 to 73.8 million tonnes in 2014. The value of aquaculture production is estimated at USD 160.2 billion in 2014.




About 87 percent, or 146 million tonnes, of total fishery production was used for direct human consumption. The remaining 13 percent (21 million tonnes) was destined for non-food products, mainly for the manufacture of fishmeal and fish oil. About 46 percent of the fish destined for human consumption was in live and fresh form. 


Main commodities 

Salmon and trout became the most important commodity traded in value terms in 2013 and accounting for about 17 percent of the total value of internationally traded fish products in 2014. The other main groups of exported species were shrimps and prawn with more than 15 percent, followed by groundfish (10 percent, e.g. hake, cod, haddock and Alaska pollock) and tuna (10 percent). In 2014, fishmeal represented around 3 percent of the value of exports and fish oil 1 percent.


Read the full report HERE




Market competition between farmed and wild fish


Read the full report HERE or read extracts relevant for the fishmeal sector below: 


FAO has conducted a litterature survey on the relationship between farmed and wild fish. Some of the main conclusions is, that 

World capture production has been stagnant for the last two decades, with a large percentage of world fish stocks fully or overexploited, while aquaculture production continues to increase at high rates. This situation in capture fisheries may also limit aquaculture’s expansion capacity, owing to limitations in the production of fishery-based feeds and seed supply. On the other hand, it offers aquaculture the possibility to increase its market share and become the main supplier for fishery products.


However, interactions between fisheries and aquaculture are wider and more frequent, owing to the sharing of fish resources, common ecosystems and common markets. Interactions caused by sharing the same resource (fish in its wide sense) can result from biomass transfer from fisheries to aquaculture through fish-based feeds (e.g. fishmeal, fish oil and trash fish), and through the collection of wild seed and broodstock – as well as from aquaculture to fisheries through escapees and restocking. In fact, restocking is increasingly contributing to capture fisheries through the release of juveniles that restore overfished stocks and enhance catch rates in wild fisheries. However, released individuals can have an impact on wild populations, including those of different species.


One of the conclusions of the survey is, that we should expect that the market interactions between farmed and wild fish may increase in the future, as a larger part of fish supply will come from aquaculture and a larger market share of sales will take place in supermarkets and large retailers. In line with this, Lem, Bjørndal and Lappo (2014) analysed the development in fish markets up to 2030. Outcomes of the study show that, in the future, prices of both capture and farmed fish will be driven largely by the development of aquaculture production, while per capita fish consumption is likely to be maintained, if not increased, in most scenarios, although important differences between regions of the world will remain. In fact, it is expected that some aquaculture species could be integrated (directly compete) with meat products (e.g. chicken) (Eales and Wessells, 1999). On the other hand, there is growing interest among certain consumers in buying local food – and wildcaught seafood in particular (Asche et al., 2012). Thus it is possible that certain local, wild-caught varieties (e.g. large-sized products) could successfully create or maintain their niche market segment, and not enter the market integration that most wild-caught varieties will enter with imported production.


Feed interactions

The report also contains a section on feed interactions, which you can read below: 

In developed countries, aquaculture has focused mainly on the culture of high-trophic-level carnivorous species with high economic value, which require significant amounts of fishmeal and fish oil in their diets (Deutsch et al., 2007; Hasan and Halwart, 2009; Naylor et al., 2009; Tacon et al., 2012). Although many species are used in the production of fishmeal and fish oil, oily fish such as small pelagics are the main ones. Thus small pelagic forage fish species (e.g. anchovies, herring, mackerel and sardines) serve mainly as farm feed inputs (Tacon and Metian, 2009).

FAO (2014) estimated that 21.7 million tonnes of global production were destined for non-food purposes in 2012. Of this, 16.3 million (75 percent) were reduced to fishmeal and fish oil. The residual 5.4 million tonnes were largely used as fish for culture (fingerlings, fry, etc.); ornamental purposes; bait; pharmaceutical uses; and as raw material for direct feeding in aquaculture (e.g. trash fish), for livestock and for fur animals. About 35 percent of world fishmeal production was obtained from fish by-products (residues) in 2012. The use of by-products instead of whole fish can affect the composition and quality of fishmeal and consequently may affect its share in feeds used in aquaculture and livestock farming (ibid.). 


Wijkström (2009) divides ‘whole’ fish used for fishmeal and fish oil into three group:


  • Industrial‐grade forage fish. This fish has no market as food for human consumption. Total fisheries production is converted into fishmeal and fish oil – without which fisheries would have to cease production. The main species are gulf menhaden, sandeel, Atlantic menhaden and Norway pout, with a total annual production of 1.2 million tonnes.
  • Food‐grade forage fish. This fish has a limited market for human consumption and is commonly used for reduction. Fishmeal plants process what the food-fish markets do not consume. The main species include Peruvian (anchoveta), Japanese, European and other anchovies, capelin, blue whiting and European sprat.
  • Prime food fish. This refers to fish that has a regular market for human consumption, but mainly owing to large landing fluctuations and its perishability, some is also destined for fishmeal production. The main species in this category are Chilean jack mackerel, chub mackerel, and other species of sardine, mackerel and herring.

In summary, Wijkström (ibid.) concludes that there is a net addition of 7–8 million tonnes of fish supplied for human consumption from aquaculture that, as forage fish, would not have been used. However, it should be noted that herring and mackerel in the North Atlantic are examples of prime food fish that have shown a great change in usage: while most of the harvest was used for fishmeal production in the past, virtually all harvest is today used for direct human consumption. 


The Marine Ingredients Organisation (IFFO) estimates that, worldwide, 16.5 million tonnes of whole fish and 5.5 million tonnes of byproducts (fish parts) were converted into 5.0 million tonnes of fishmeal and 1.0 million tonnes of fish oil in 2008 (Chamberlain, 2011). Indeed, IFFO estimates that 4.8 million tonnes of fishmeal were produced globally in 2009. Sixty-three percent of this was used in aquaculture, mainly to feed salmon and trout, crustaceans, and other marine fish (each of them used about 27 percent of the total fishmeal destined to aquaculture). Fishmeal was also used to feed pigs (25 percent) and poultry (8 percent). The main producers of fishmeal are Chile and Peru (ibid.).  


IFFO also estimates that 1.0 million tonnes of fish oil were produced in 2009. Eighty-one percent of all fish oil produced was destined to aquaculture, where it was mainly used in the salmon and trout segment (68 percent). Direct human consumption accounted for 13 percent. The main producers of fish oil are Chile, Peru, the Scandinavian countries and the United States of America (Chamberlain, op cit.). 


Thus aquaculture and other food production activities require the use of fishmeal and fish oil. Whether the increase in demand has raised their prices very much depends on whether fishmeal is a separate market or part of the larger market for meals, of which soy is by far the largest component (Asche and Bjørndal, 2011). Fishmeal and fish oil play a key role in the feeding, and consequently in the costs, of a large number of aquaculture segments. These price increases have caused a structural change in the fishing sector, further developing low-value fisheries, while creating an incentive, for aquaculture, for research and innovation to minimize fishmeal and fish-oil consumption (Kristofersson and Anderson, 2006). In fact, the ratio of wild fish input from industrial feeds to total farmed fish output has decreased from 1.04 in 1995 to 0.63 in 2007 (Naylor et al., 2009). This decrease is owed, in great part, to the increase in omnivorous farmed fish production, as well as to improved efficiency, for example in salmon farming (Asche and Bjørndal, 2011).


Whether demand for fishmeal and fish oil has increased pressure on pelagic stocks depends on the management systems in place (ibid.). In an open access situation, a price increase is likely to lead to further stock depletion. However, in an optimally managed fishery, increased demand for fishmeal will have little or no impact on fish quotas. Nevertheless, considering that most forage fisheries currently are fully exploited or overexploited, this means there are limited opportunities for increasing fishmeal and fish-oil supply from forage fish stocks (Grainger and Garcia, 1996; Alder et al., 2008).