Increased demand for farmed fish
Aquaculture is a growth industry for many different reasons, some of the most important being:
Quotas for wild catch fish
Quotas have been imposed on catching various species of fish in different geographical areas. This is due to stocks of several species have fallen below the level at which reproduction can naturally counterbalance catches. The catch of many wild species has consequently been sharply reduced over time, and demand for fish can no longer be catered for from wild sources.
Aquaculture replacing wild catch fish
As demand for fish cannot be adequately met by wild catch fish, the aquaculture industry makes up market needs. The figures below show how farming has replaced wild catch fish within a range of different species. Farmed salmon (incl. Pacific salmon and trout) represented less than 10 % of the global catch 20 years ago, whereas they now account for over 60 % of the salmon market. During this period, wild catch salmon has stagnated, and growth has been achieved by farming salmon, reaching a volume of around 1,500,000 tons. Similar patterns are seen for e.g. sea bass and sea bream and are expected to occur for other species.
Supplies of farmed fish are more stable and predictable than wild catch fish, where supplies are often to a larger extent affected by climatic conditions, quotas, etc. The predictability of supplies is vital for major buyers of fish like large retail groups, restaurants, and the catering industry.