Farmed-fish supply rises, but still may not match demand

Farmed fish have nearly caught up to wild-caught fish as a source of the world’s seafood, reported the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization yesterday. In 1980, just 9 percent of human-consumed fish came from aquaculture; now the number is 43 percent. “Catches in the wild are still high, but they have leveled off, probably for good,” says lead report author Rohana Subasinghe. Thanks to rising populations and incomes, there may not be enough fish in the sea (or the farm) to feed rising global demand: about 116 million tons of fish, both farmed and wild-caught, were eaten in 2004, and about 38 million tons more were used for other purposes. The report estimates that an additional 40 million tons will be required by 2030 just to maintain current consumption levels. The growth of aquaculture, however, is hindered by lack of investment capital in developing countries, a shortage of land and fresh water, rising energy costs, and concern over environmental impact. You think peak oil is bad, wait ’til people can’t get their Fish Stix.