Fish and seafood - OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2013-2022


Capture fisheries’ output is projected to rise by only 5% by 2022 with aquaculture increasing by 35%. Aquaculture is projected to surpass capture fisheries as the main source for human consumption by 2015.


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Market situation

The fish market is adjusting to recent supply and demand imbalances which have caused price fluctuations. The uncertain demand in many developed countries, representing the main importers of fish for human consumption, has encouraged exporters to develop new markets in a number of emerging economies that still show healthy demand. After a period of strong growth in 2011 and early 2012, the fish sector experienced a slower expansion. Preliminary data indicate that total fishery production continued to rise in 2012 setting a new record at 157 Mt, due to a 6% rise in aquaculture production over 2011. Subsequent to the 5% increase experienced in 2011, capture fisheries declined by more than 3% in 2012 due to lower catches of anchoveta in South America. These reduced catches also triggered a decline in fishmeal and fish oil production with subsequent strong price increase, negatively affecting poultry, pig and fish producers reliant on these products as feed ingredients.

During 2012, the value of trade set a new record at more than USD 129.3 bn, but it was only a modest increase over 2011 (+1.5%) as international prices of fish and fishery products for human consumption have been under downward pressure in 2012. This was particularly true for farmed fish species, while prices of captured fish have increased. The price dip was the result of a reduced consumer demand in many key markets. These tendencies were reflected in the FAO Fish Price Index, which shows international fish prices sliding by almost 6% in 2012 compared to 2011 for total fisheries products, but by more than 17% if taking into account only farmed fish.

Projection highlights

  • The fish market outlook for the decade ahead reflects the response to growing production costs in a context of steady demand, particularly from developing countries. Higher prices are expected in fishery production and trade.

  • World fisheries and aquaculture production is expected to reach about 181 Mt by 2022, a 18% growth compared to the 2010-12 base period. Most of the production gains will come from aquaculture, which will increase by 35% over the Outlook period. However, aquaculture production growth is anticipated to slow to 2.4% per year, compared to 5.9% for the previous decade.

  • During the Outlook period, the annual growth rate of fish consumption will slightly decelerate (from 1.8% to 0.6%) due to higher fish prices and a slowing of population growth. Additional fish consumption expansion will mostly originate from developing countries, which will also continue to dominate production and exports.