Preliminary estimates in the State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2016 report by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) show that people are eating more than twice as much fish as they did in the 1960s. The average world per capita apparent fish consumption was 9.9 kg in the 1960s and preliminary estimates indicate it will exceed 20 kg in 2015.
The report attributes this rise in consumption to increased supplies from aquaculture (which now provides 50% of all fish for human consumption) , reduced wastage, better utilization, rising incomes and urbanisation, a slight improvement of some fish stocks due to improved fisheries management and growing demands linked to population growth.
China has been responsible for most of the growth in world per capita fish availability in the last two decades and accounts for 60 per cent of world aquaculture production.
However, whilst we are chomping on more fish and production is going gangbusters, the report points out that the state of the world’s marine fish stocks has not improved overall with an estimated 31.4 per cent of fish stocks being overfished.
How do Australian fisheries stack up?
On a positive note, the report highlights that countries like Australia are bucking the trend of increasingly overfished fish stocks through the implementation of effective management actions. What’s more, the report recognises Australia’s achievement in eliminating overfishing in Commonwealth-managed fisheries since 2014, which includes the South East Trawl fishery.
This is great news for Australian seafood lovers because it means that they do not have to look far to get their hands on the freshest, tastiest and, most importantly, sustainable seafood in the world.