By 2030, FAO forecasts an important boost to Latin America and the Caribbean’s currently low fish consumption, says a new report published on Monday.
According to The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2018 (SOFIA), the region will see a considerable increase of 33 percent in total fish consumption .
This is particularly important for the region, since it is currently a solid net fish exporter and producer of aquaculture, but has the lowest global per capita consumption – only 9.8 kilos per year. In 2015, the region only consumed 6.2 million tonnes of fish, lower than all other regions, except Oceania.
Total food fish consumption is expected to increase in all regions and subregions by 2030 in comparison with 2016, with major growth projected in Latin America (33 percent), Africa (37 percent), Oceania (28 percent) and Asia (20 percent).
In per capita terms, world fish consumption is projected to reach 21.5 kg in 2030, up from 20.3 kg in 2016. Per capita fish consumption will increase in all regions except Africa (–2 percent). The highest growth rates are projected for Latin America (+18 percent) and for Asia and Oceania (+8 percent each).
However, in spite of these increases, SOFIA forecasts that in 2030 about 71 percent of the fish available for human consumption (184 million tonnes) will be consumed in Asian countries, while the lowest quantities will be consumed in Oceania and Latin America.
SOFIA forecasts that by 2030, the region will see a 24.2 percent growth in fish production (fisheries and aquaculture) from 12.9 million tonnes to 16 million tonnes.
While currently only 4 percent of the global population engaged in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors live in Latin America and the Caribbean, in the Brazilian Amazon, for example, households obtain 30 percent of household income from fishing.
By 2030, aquaculture production is projected to continue to expand on all continents, with major increases expected in particular in Latin America, where it will grow by 49 percent, from over 2.7 million tonnes to over 4 million tonnes.
Some 3.8 million people work in aquaculture in the region, two percent of the global total. Employment in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors is growing moderately, while aquaculture production has seen rather high sustained growth.
Latin America and the Caribbean remains a solid net fish exporter. Latin American exports, comprising primarily shrimp, tuna, salmon and fishmeal from Ecuador, Chile and Peru, were boosted in 2016 and again in 2017 by higher production and an upturn in tuna prices.
By 2030, projected fish exports from the region will increase by 29 percent, from 3.9 million tonnes in 2016 up to 5,1 million tonnes. Imports will see an even bigger increase: 53 percent, from 2.3 million tonnes in 2016 to 3.5 million tonnes in 2030.