Who doesn’t have to like some great seafood for dinner? Seafood is actually one of the most common forms of protein consumption in the world today. Billions depend on the bounty that is in the sea to resolve the hunger that they face. The only problem is that we may all be consuming too much seafood.
World per capita fish consumption has risen to 16.4 kg from a per capita average of 9.9 kg in the 1960s.
Although we are all eating more fish on average, the world’s fish supply has remained almost static. Inside this statistic, however, is a hidden fact: China accounts for almost all of the increases in worldwide fish consumption since the 1990s. If China is excluded from this data, then per capita seafood consumption has actually gone down in the last decade.
- Up to 500 different types of seafood are sold annually in the global market.
- 10. That’s the number of different fish and shellfish species that account for 90% of the seafood that is consumed in the United States.
- The percentage of seafood that is consumed which is either shrimp, salmon, or canned tuna: 55%.
- Only tilapia consumption has risen in the United States in comparison with all of these other numbers to become a top consumed fish.
- 75% of the seafood that is consumed in the United States is either fresh or frozen, a figure that has been rising over the lat two decades.
- About two thirds of the fresh or frozen products consumed are finfish.
- Canned tuna represents about 67% of all the canned seafood consumed in the US.
- Canned shellfish represents over 10% of all canned products consumed, followed by canned salmon and sardines at 5% each.
- The percentage of the seafood market that is cured, salted, smoked, or pickled products: 2%.
- About three fourths of the seafood products consumed in the U.S. are fresh or frozen, and consumption of these product forms has reached a plateau.
Most markets are seeing a decrease in their overall seafood consumption, which is a positive sign considering the fact that a majority of the world’s fisheries are experiencing declines in population numbers. During the seafood consumption peaks of the 1980s for the rest of the world excluding China, some fisheries were 90% fished out and their numbers have struggled to come back over the last two decades. Improved knowledge about fishing methods have also reduced the global love of seafood, but that’s not necessarily true for China. Their consumption numbers look to be peaking like the rest of the world’s did 30 years ago.
Just How Much Seafood Is Being Consumed?
- About 6.5 billion pounds of edible seafood products with a dockside value of $4.35 billion were landed in the U.S. in 2010.
- Alaska led all states in volume of landings in 2010 with 52% of the total catch.
- In the United States, the amount of fish and shellfish harvested from the wild annually is about 8 times greater than the amount produced by domestic aquaculture farms.
- The value of seafood products processed in the US in 2010 was over $8.5 billion.
- Government figures estimate that there were 3,170 seafood processing and wholesale plants in the US that employed almost 60,000 people in 2010.
- More than 10 million anglers made over 71 million marine recreational fishing trips in the US, accounting for over 357 million additional fish being caught.
- 75%. That’s the percentage of the seafood industry in the US that is imported annually. 84% of this industry is either fresh or frozen.
- Shrimp is the leading fresh or frozen product imported into the US accounting for about 28% of all imports by weight.
Why are we eating so much seafood still today? Part of it is because of the health benefits. Salmon, for example, is packed full of healthy Omega-3s that other food products just don’t provide. Americans are also becoming increasing concerned about their weight, as 1 in 3 Americans could be classified as obese according to their BMI right now. Red meats are discouraged when dieting, so people turn towards poultry and seafood to have their hunger needs met. As aquaculture grows and the world can produce more farmed fish, the concerns about wild populations being over-fished can be reduced. Until then, however, the statistics show we might actually want to take a second look at how much seafood we are consuming.
Who Is Eating Seafood Today?
- The United States ranks as the third largest consumer of seafood in the world after China and Japan.
- The total food fish supply and hence consumption has been growing at a rate of 3.6% per year since 1961, but the world’s population rate has been growing at half this rate.
- The proteins derived from fish, crustaceans and molluscs account for between 13.8% and 16.5% of the animal protein intake of the human population.
- The per capita availability of fish and fishery products has nearly doubled in the last 40 years.
- In the industrialized nations, the seafood consumption growth since 1967 has been just 1%, or below population growth.
- 67% of the seafood products that are brought to market come from inland waters and capture fisheries.
- Fish contributes up to 180 kcal per capita per day, but reaches such high levels only in a few countries where there is a lack of alternative protein foods grown locally or where there is a strong preference for fish.
- One-fifth of the world population gets one-fifth of its total caloric intake from seafood.
People are relying on seafood now more than ever to get the calories they need for survival. Some nations have a strong preference for seafood based on their location by the sea, as do certain regions in larger nations [like the Pacific Northwest in the US]. What is becoming problematic is that many nations are seeing higher levels of seafood consumption than fruits or vegetables. As the statistics show, if we can globalize other food industries to give every nation some extra variety, we might just be able to restore the bounty that once came from the sea.