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The fishing industry is a major contributor to the global economy, with commercial fisheries and aquaculture providing employment for millions of people around the world. The sector is also an important source of food, with fish and seafood products being consumed by billions of people every year.

The global fishing industry is worth an estimated $US367 billion annually, while the aquaculture sector is valued at $US159 billion. The majority of the world’s fish catch (66%) comes from small-scale fisheries, while industrial fisheries account for just 19% of the total catch. Aquaculture accounts for the remaining 15%.

In terms of value, industrial fisheries are responsible for the majority of the sector’s output, followed by aquaculture and then small-scale fisheries. However, small-scale fisheries are by far the most important source of fish for human consumption, providing more than 60% of the fish that is eaten globally.

The top five countries in terms of commercial fish production are China, India, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Thailand. Together, these countries account for more than half of the world’s fish catch. China is by far the largest producer, accounting for almost one-third of the global total.

Commercial fishing

Commercial fishing is the harvesting of fish for commercial purposes. In 2015, the global commercial fishing fleet consisted of about 4.6 million vessels, with China having the largest fleet at 1.8 million followed by India (0.8 million) and Indonesia (0.5 million). The global catches in wild fisheries have been relatively stable since the early 1990s, standing at around 90 million tonnes a year, although there has been a shift in the species composition of catches with a decline in low value/low productivity species such as anchovies and sardines, and an increase in higher value species such as salmon and tuna. The total aquaculture production has more than quadrupled since 1990, growing from 17 million tonnes to 73 million tonnes in 2015. The top aquaculture-producing countries are China (44%), India (9%), Indonesia (4%), Vietnam (4%), and Thailand (3%).

The fishing and aquaculture industry is an important contributor to the global economy, with aquaculture production worth US$106 billion in 2016. The industry employs around 38 million people directly and supports the livelihoods of many more indirectly. In terms of food security, fish is an important source of protein and other nutrients for almost 3 billion people who consume over 20 kg per person on average each year. It is also an important traded commodity, with exports worth US$145 billion in 2016.

Recreational fishing

Recreational fishing includes all forms of fishing for sport or pleasure. It can be done from the shore, from a boat, or from a specialized structure such as a pier. It can be done with a reel and rod, by hand-gathering, spearfishing, or by other means.

Recreational fishing is often distinguished from commercial fishing, which is fishing for profit, or subsistence fishing, which is fishing for survival. However, there is considerable overlap between the different types of fishing; both recreational and commercial fishermen use many of the same methods and target many of the same species.

In North America, recreational fishing generally requires a license, although there are exemptions in some states and provinces. In Europe, recreational fisheries are mostly managed by member states of the European Union through the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). Other parts of the world have different systems for managing recreational fisheries.

The estimated number of global fish catches in 2012 was 38 million tonnes (MT), down from 48 MT in 2009. The vast majority of this total (80%) was made up of Chinese fish catches (31 MT), followed by those from India (4 MT) and Indonesia (3 MT). Europe accounted for just 5% of global fish catches in 2012 with 1.9 MT caught, while North America's share was 4% (1.5 MT).

The aquaculture industry

Aquaculture is the farming of fish, crustaceans, mollusks, aquatic plants, algae, and other organisms in water. It involves interventions in the life cycles of these organisms to enhance production, including breeding, stocking, feeding, and protection from predators. Aquaculture is practiced in fresh-, brackish-, and saltwater environments.

The aquaculture industry is now a multi-billion dollar business worldwide. It supplies over 50% of the fish and shellfish consumed by humans, with salmon, shrimp, and tilapia being the most popular farmed species. The top ten countries for aquaculture production are China (with 70% of global output), India, Vietnam, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Thailand, Myanmar, the Philippines, Japan, and Egypt.

Aquaculture is an important source of employment in many coastal communities – for example, about 90% of the fish consumed in Ghana comes from small-scale aquaculture operations. In addition to providing food security and livelihoods for millions of people around the world, aquaculture also plays a role in environmental conservation – for example by providing an alternative to wild-caught fish, which often involve negative impacts on fragile marine ecosystems.

However, the aquaculture industry is not without its problems. One of the biggest challenges facing the industry is the spread of disease and parasites among farmed fish, which can have devastating impacts on production. In addition, the use of antibiotics in aquaculture has been shown to lead to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which is a major public health concern. Aquaculture also often relies on capture fisheries for feed, which puts additional pressure on wild fish stocks. Finally, there is growing evidence that some aquaculture operations are having negative impacts on the environment, including through the release of pollutants and the destruction of coastal habitats.

Market analysis

The fishing and aquaculture industry has been growing steadily in recent years. In 2018, global fish production reached a record high of 172 million tonnes. This was led by strong growth in aquaculture, which accounted for more than half of the total fish production for the first time ever.

The Asia-Pacific region is the largest producer of fish in the world, accounting for over 60% of global production. China is by far the largest producer, with a production volume of almost 63 million tonnes in 2018. Other major producing countries in the region include India, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Thailand.

Europe is the second-largest producing region, accounting for 17% of global fish production. The leading producers in Europe are Norway, Turkey, Spain, and Italy.

North America is the third-largest producing region, accounting for just over 7% of global fish production. The United States is the leading producer in North America, followed by Canada and Mexico.

South America is the fourth-largest producing region, accounting for 5% of global fish production. Chile is the leading producer in South America, followed by Peru and Ecuador.

Africa is the fifth-largest producing region, accounting for 4% of global fish production. The leading producers in Africa are Mauritania, Morocco, Sudan, and South Africa.

Forecast to 2030

The fishing and aquaculture industry is forecast to grow steadily in the next decade. The total value of the industry is expected to reach $1 trillion by 2030, up from $890 billion in 2020. This growth will be driven by continued demand for fish and seafood as a healthy source of protein, as well as by the growing aquaculture industry.

The wild capture fisheries sector is forecast to grow at a rate of 2-3% per year, while the aquaculture sector is expected to grow at 5-6% per year. This growth will be driven by continued demand for fish and seafood as a healthy source of protein, as well as by the increasing popularity of farmed fish. Salmon, shrimp, and tilapia are expected to be the biggest drivers of growth in the aquaculture sector.

In terms of value, Asia is expected to remain the largest market for fishing and aquaculture products, followed by North America and Europe. However, in terms of volume, China is expected to remain the largest producer of fish and seafood, followed by India and Vietnam.

The U.S. Market for Fish and Seafood

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the U.S. catches about 10.8 billion pounds of fish and other seafood each year, worth about $5.4 billion. The top commercial fisheries are for Gulf of Mexico shrimp, Alaskan pollock, Chesapeake Bay blue crabs, and lobsters off Maine.

The United States is both a significant importer and exporter of fish and seafood products. In 2016, the U.S. imported nearly 5 billion pounds of fish and seafood worth $21.6 billion, while exporting almost 2 billion pounds valued at $5.2 billion. The top imported species include shrimp, salmon, tuna, tilapia, and crab. The leading destinations for U.S.-origin seafood exports are Japan, Canada, China/Hong Kong, Mexico, and South Korea—accounting for nearly 60% of all exports by value in 2016.

The United States has one of the largest aquaculture industries in the world, producing more than 1 billion pounds of fish and shellfish annually worth over $1.3 billion at the farm gate—the value of the product as it leaves the farm before processing or marketing costs are factored in (USDA-NASS 2017). Aquaculture is an important part of domestic production for several popular seafood items including oysters, trout, catfish fillets, tilapia fillets, clams, salmon (farmed Atlantic), and mussels.

The European Market for Fish and Seafood

The European fish and seafood market is one of the largest in the world, with a production value of over EUR 12 billion in 2016. The EU is a major producer of fish and seafood, accounting for around 20% of global production.

EU member states are also some of the largest consumers of fish and seafood in the world, with a per capita consumption of over 20 kg per year. Fish and seafood are an important source of nutrition for European consumers, providing essential fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins.

Asia-Pacific Market for Fish and Seafood

The Asia-Pacific region is one of the most important markets for fish and seafood in the world. The region is home to some of the world’s largest producers and consumers of fish and seafood, and the market is forecast to grow significantly in the coming years.

There are a number of factors that are driving growth in the Asia-Pacific fish and seafood market. The region has a large population with a growing appetite for fish and seafood. In addition, economic growth in the region is leading to higher disposable incomes and more spending on food, including fish and seafood.

The Asia-Pacific market for fish and seafood is highly fragmented, with a large number of small producers competing against each other. This fragmentation is expected to continue in the future as the market grows.

Some of the key players in the Asia-Pacific fish and seafood market include China, Japan, India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Australia, and New Zealand. These countries are expected to be major drivers of growth in the market over the forecast period.

Latin American Market for Fish and Seafood

The Latin American market for fish & seafood is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.5% during the forecast period (2019-2024). The major factors driving the growth of this market are the growing population and rising disposable incomes, which are leading to an increased demand for fish & seafood.

In terms of volume, the Latin American market was valued at 3,631 thousand metric tons in 2018, and is projected to reach 4,831 thousand metric tons by 2024. Brazil, Peru, and Chile are the major contributors to regional market growth.

The increasing health awareness among people is another key factor driving the growth of this market. Fish & seafood are rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which offer several health benefits such as reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke. Moreover, they are low in calories and cholesterol, making them a healthier option as compared to other meat products.

The Middle Eastern and African Market for Fish and Seafood

The Middle Eastern and African market for fish and seafood is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.5% during the forecast period of 2020-2025. The major factors driving the growth of this market are the increasing population, which is resulting in the rising demand for fish and seafood, and the growing awareness about the health benefits associated with the consumption of fish and seafood.

In terms of volume, the Middle Eastern and African market for fish and seafood is projected to reach 11,749 thousand tons by 2025. The major countries contributing to this growth are Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt, Morocco, and Senegal.

Nigeria is one of the largest producers of fish in Africa with a production volume of 1,422 thousand tons in 2019. The country has a large coastline of 853 kilometers and a rich variety of aquatic resources. Fish is an important part of the Nigerian diet and is consumed on a daily basis by a large number of people.

South Africa is another major producer of fish in Africa with a production volume of 938 thousand tons in 2019. The country has a long coastline of 3,000 kilometers which provides ample opportunities for fishing. Fish forms an important part of the South African diet as it is a good source of protein and essential nutrients.

Egypt is one of the leading consumers of fish in the Middle East with a per capita consumption of 18 kg per year. The country has a long tradition of fishing and consuming fish.

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Geography