Aquaculture White Paper

By: Laura Tiu

Global Outlook

Commercial fisheries are being harvested at or above their maximum sustainable yield. Worldwide harvest 100.2 million MT in 1989, and has remained unchanged despite dramatically increased fishing effort.

Nearly 70% of the world's commercial species are now fully exploited, overexploited, depleted, or recovering from depletion.

The U.S. is heavily dependent on imported seafood. The U.S. is, after Japan, the world's second largest importer of fisheries products. The U.S. trade deficit exceeded $7 billion for edible seafood (1999). This is the largest for any agricultural commodity and second largest, after petroleum, among all imported natural resources.

Presently, Aquaculture accounts for only about 10% of seafood that Americans consume.

Future Demand, Domestic Production, Imports and Exports Expected Higher in 2000. The forecast for a strong domestic economy and the continued recovery of a number of Asian economies are expected to help aquaculture production and trade opportunities expand in 2000. (Aquaculture Outlook, ERS, USDA, March 13, 2000)

The National Marine Fisheries Service is reporting that the U.S. per capita seafood consumption for 1999 increased by 3.6 percent from 14.9 to 15.3 pounds. 4.2 billion pounds of domestic and imported seafood was consumed in 1999.

FAO has projected that aquaculture production will have to double over the next decade in order to meet global seafood needs by 2010 and increase five-fold by 2025.

Global demand for seafood is projected to increase 70% the next 30 years.

National Outlook

Further development of Aquaculture is in the national interest.

Aquaculture has expanded steadily with farm gate value of $751.1 million in 1994 to $978 million in 1998

Catfish production is most important with a value around $417 million

Aquaculture accounts for approximately 181,000 jobs in the U.S.

Aquaculture's total economic impact is over $5.6 billion annually

4000 farms in the U.S. aquaculture industry

Regional Outlook

About 1 billion pounds of seafood and freshwater fish is consumed annually in the Midwest, yet the region produces less than 2% of that amount.

There are over 1000 fish producers in the North Central Region (NCR), culturing food fish, baitfish, ornamentals and pond stockers.

Many production methods used: natural and constructed ponds and lakes, intensive raceway culture, recirculating systems, tanks and cages and net pens

There is a lack of detailed technical information needed to bring alternative aquaculture species to a level where they can be produced economically

Aquaculture Plans have been developed for Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri and Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, fish sales are expected to increase 60% in the next 5 years. There are more than 330 fish farmers. Gross sales in 1997 totaled $10.5 million dollars. The annual growth rate is 11%, far ahead of the 4.2% growth rate of poultry, the next fastest growing food industry.

Illinois and Indiana have a combined aquaculture industry of more than $7 million in farm gate revenues.

West Virginia has supported the development of the Freshwater Institute Research Facility.

The governors of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania have teamed together to form a tri-state task force to develop aquaculture in their states.

The State of Ohio's Aquaculture and Economic Opportunity for Expansion and Recapturing of Lost Seafood Markets

Ohio had 33 farms reporting for the U.S census in 1998, total aquaculture sales in 1998 reported to be $1,788,000.

Lake Michigan's yellow perch numbers appear to have decreased 80 percent since 1990.

The states surrounding the lake have put new regulations on yellow perch fishing.

Wisconsin banned commercial fishing for yellow perch in Lake Michigan in 1997.

In Ohio, harvest yields from Lake Erie have been on a steady decline. In 1978, 11,386,000 lbs. Of yellow perch were harvested with a farm gate value of over $37 million dollars. In 1997, 4,300,000 lbs. were harvested with a farm gate value of almost $14 million dollars. The difference is over $23 million dollars. A comparison of retail dollars is more staggering. 1978's yellow perch harvest would have been worth an estimated $125,246,000 with 1997's harvest worth $47,300,000. This is a decline of an estimated $78 million dollars with just the yellow perch species of fish alone.

Yellow perch produce the lowest fat fish fillet in the U.S. market

Yellow perch are a focus species in Ohio because of high value and high demand.

Ohio climate and water resources are suited for culturing yellow perch.

Ohio already has a commercial producing and expanding yellow perch aquaculture facility and a network of more than 50 farmers, processors and researchers.


Peter F. Drucker, the 90-year-old management expert who writes about economics for the Atlantic Monthly and other publications, has said his choice for the growth industry of the next 30 years is not e-commerce. "It's going to be fish farming," he said, because on the oceans "we are still hunters and gatherers." Asked to expand on this opinion, Drucker said that 20 years ago all salmon and shrimp consumed was wild; today 60 percent of each is farmed, and progress is being made with other species. He went on: "One reason: The oceans are over-fished and yield steadily decreasing returns. Another one: The tremendous population growth in two-thirds of the world -- not peaking for another 25 years -- requires a very substantial expansion of protein supply, and expansion of terrestrial domesticated animals is becoming increasing expensive and, above all, increasingly detrimental to the environment. "The big problem of the next 20 years is cost control of fish farming – it is way too expensive today. But both the technology and the demand are here."