SAN FRANCISCO -- A scientific panel revealed today that rising global demand for healthy seafood has exceeded wild capture fisheries' ability to provide all fish meals demanded by consumers. Aquaculture -- or the farming of seafood -- is helping to fill the gap between sustainable wild supplies and the public demand for seafood. Research unveiled at the AAAS Annual Meeting demonstrated the enormous potential for sustainable growth of healthy farmed seafood production, notably through advancements in feed efficiency and the ability to expand production in marine environments.
"At a time when heart disease kills one American every 35 seconds and the overall health benefits of consuming seafood are evident, it is essential to educate the public about increasing their consumption of a lean protein such as fish," said Dr. Steven Otwell, a University of Florida professor and member of National Academy of Sciences' Seafood Safety Committee. "To meet the growing demand for healthy seafood, we absolutely must embrace and expand aquaculture."
Aquaculture is the fastest growing food supply in the world. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, global aquaculture production will need to nearly double by the year 2050 to meet consumer demand. As presented in the panel, scientific breakthroughs and new technology will be critical to continuing efforts to build a sustainable aquaculture community. From new methods of rearing farmed fish with smaller environmental footprints, to identifying new feeds, the scientific study of aquaculture is essential to providing affordable and healthy seafood for U.S. and international consumers.
"Whether from fresh or marine waters, be it catfish or cod, farmed seafood allows greater numbers of Americans to enjoy the health benefits of fish in an environmentally-friendly way," said Dr. Randy MacMillan, president of the National Aquaculture Association and AAAS panel organizer. "Aquaculture is a re