Global fish production (wild and farmed) is estimated to have reached 179 million tons in 2018, with a total value estimated at $401 billion. While aquaculture makes up less than half of total production at 82 million tons, it is valued at $250 billion, which is 62% of the total value. Aquaculture’s total value per pound is higher than wild fisheries. In 2018, aquaculture production consisted of 82.1 million tons of aquatic animals, 32.4 million tons of aquatic algae, and 26 thousand tons of ornamental shells and pearls. The aquatic animals were dominated by finfish at a total of 54.3 million tons of which 47 million were from inland, and 7.3 million were from marine and coastal areas. ref Global seaweed production from finfish aquaculture is expected to continue to grow and outpace wild fisheries by 2030.
In 2018, aquaculture production consisted of:
- 82 million tons of aquatic animals (finfish – marine and freshwater, mollusks, crustaceans, marine invertebrates, aquatic turtles, and frogs)
- 32 million tons of aquatic algae
- 26 thousand tons of ornamental shells and pearls ref
Mariculture and coastal aquaculture collectively produced 30.8 million tons ($106.5 billion) of aquatic animals in 2018. Despite technological developments in marine finfish aquaculture, marine and coastal aquaculture currently produce more mollusks than finfish and crustaceans.
Despite the diversity of species grown globally, only 20 species make up the majority (approximately 84%) of the total farmed finfish. Most of the top fish species farmed are freshwater – primarily carp, catfish, and tilapia. Milkfish (Chanos chanos) are globally the most significantly farmed tropical marine finfish species, with production numbers in 2018 reaching 1.32 million tons and comprising 2.4% of the farmed fish production. From 2010 to 2018, milkfish production numbers increased 39% for an average annual increase of approximately 10% each year. ref
Other tropical/subtropical finfish species that are farmed include, but are not limited to: barramundi, grouper, snapper, pompano (pomfret), croaker, red drum, Japanese sea bass, cobia, and with some newer interest in rabbitfish.