The World Bank, together with the FAO, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and the Arkansas University, published a report entitled ‘Fish to 2030: Prospects for fisheries and aquaculture’. Based on trends in each country or group of countries for the production of capture fisheries and aquaculture as well as fish consumption, which are driven by income and population growth, the following projections of global fish supply and demand until 2030 are presented as six scenarios from the baseline model:
- Scenario 1, where aquaculture is able to grow by morethan 50% between 2011 and 2030;
- Scenario 2 investigates how expanded use of fish processing waste in fishmeal and fish oil might affect fish trade;
- Scenario 3 introduces a hypothetical major disease outbreak that would hit aquaculture in Asia;
- Scenario 4 is a case where consumers in China expand their demand more aggressively than in the baseline case;
- Scenario 5 simulates the impacts of an increase infisheries’productivity where global fisheries would be at levels that permit harvesting at the maximum sustainable yield (MSY). It should be noted that a relative abundance of fish would dampen fish prices so that aquaculture production in 2030 would be reduced by 3 million tonnes relative to the baseline case;
- Scenario 6 considers the impacts of global climate change on the productivity of marine capture fisheries.
Throughout the report, three themes are discussed: (1) the health of global capture fisheries, (2) the role of aquaculture in filling the global fish supply-demand gap and potentially reducing the pressure on capture fisheries, and (3) the implications of changes to global fish markets on fish consumption, especially in China and sub-Saharan Africa.
China is likely to increase its influence on global fish markets. According to the baseline model results, in 2030 China will account for 37% of total fish production (17% of capture production and 57% of aquaculture production), while accounting for 38% of global consumption of food ﬁsh.
Fish consumption per person is projected to decline in Japan, Latin America, Europe, Central Asia and sub-Saharan Africa at an annual rate of 1%, falling to 5.6kgby 2030. However, due to rapid population growth, the total demand for food fish will grow substantially – up by 30% between 2010 and 2030. If capture fisheries are harvested at MSY in the region, sub-Saharan Africa will achieve 13% higher fish consumption by 2030, than under the baseline scenario, as increased harvest is likely to be consumed within the region, rather than exported. Consumption will be even higher if the stocks recovery process is accompanied by efforts to substantially reduce inefficiency in the catching sector (post-harvest losses, etc.).
In its press release, the World Bank highlights that beyond 2030 aquaculture will likely dominate future global fish supply: “Ensuring successful and sustainable development of global aquaculture is an imperative agenda for the global economy.”
The expansion of aquaculture production around the world certainly hasa great potential to complement global fish supply. Aquaculture is still nascent in many ACP countries, and investments in that sector need to draw lessons from Asia and Latin America, where aquaculture has expanded at the expense of the coastal environment or with high input requirements from capture fisheries (fishmeal and fish oil) –the development of aquaculture with low or no dependence on imported fish mealshould be privileged. It needs also to be noted that, in the case of sub-Saharan Africa, sustainable local capture fisheries, including addressing inefficiencies in the sector, will still represent the best way to promote food security. This suggests that necessary governance reforms have to be implemented to ensure the recovery of overexploited resources. An opportunity is currently given to take that step, with the discussion of the African Union Strategy for reforming fisheries policies.