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The past and future of fish consumption: can supplies meet healthy eating recommendations?
journal contributionposted on 2014-12-15, 00:00 authored by Ruth Thurstan, C M Roberts
In many developed countries fish and shellfish are increasingly promoted as healthy alternatives to other animal protein. We analysed how much fish was available to UK and global populations after accounting for processing losses, and compared this to recommended levels of fish consumption. In 2012, UK domestic fish landings per capita fell 81% below the recommended intake, although declines were masked by increased imports and aquaculture from the 1970s onwards. Global wild fish supply per capita declined by 32% from its peak in 1970. However, overall fish supplies per capita increased by 10% over the same period due to rapidly expanding aquaculture production. Whilst aquaculture has so far prevented a downturn in global fish supplies, many developed nations continue to aspire to consume more fish than they produce. Until demand is balanced with sustainable methods of production governments should consider carefully the social and environmental implications of greater fish consumption.