Domestic cats eat double the South East Trawl Fishery annual catch

5th March 2013

The journal of agricultural and environmental ethics has published a paper by Sena De Silva and Giovanni Turchini titled Towards Understanding the Impacts of the Pet Food Industry on World Fish and Seafood Supplies. The article explains that Australian cats eat 33,500 tonnes of seafood per annum. This seafood is imported and Australian made.
To put this in context the southern east trawl fishery lands 18,000 tonnes per year meaning that two south east trawl fisheries would be required to feed all Australian cats.
The report explains that “Pet ownership is increasing globally. It has been reported that the increase of disposable income, together with increasing urbanization and associated attitude shifts, are responsible for the dramatic increase in pet ownership, such as for example in China and in developing countries in general”. It adds that, “The market for pet food and pet care products has been reported to be growing at an annual average rate of 4% in value terms and reached US$49 billion in 2003, with pet food representing about 80% of the global pet industry market”. It concludes that, “It has been hypothesized that pet owners are treating their companions progressively more as a family member, and consequently, expenditure on pet food is growing.”
Fortunately Australia’s Commonwealth fisheries are managed under sustainable quotas that are recommended by fisheries scientists and set by an independent Commission. Demand for seafood products is not considered when setting quotas.