Sourcing seafood from the ocean will be transformed between now and 2050 as production from marine aquaculture grows quicker than supplies of food from capture fisheries. Marine aquaculture production, excluding seaweed, more than doubles by mid-century based on estimated regional demand for its products.
Aquaculture production of marine animals will grow from 30 million tonnes per year (Mt/yr) in 2018 to 74 Mt/yr in 2050, closing in on the output of marine capture fisheries (see Figure 7 below). We also forecast that seaweed production will rise from 30 Mt/yr to 50 Mt/yr over the same period (see Figure 8). We therefore predict that global marine aquaculture production will reach around 124 Mt/yr in mid-century. In comparison, freshwater aquaculture produced 51 Mt/yr in 2018.
The outlook for marine aquaculture looks slightly different when we consider its impact on world food supply, even though we find a global shift in how seafood is sourced. When considering the edible food weight, marine aquaculture of marine animals will contribute around 27 Mt/yr in 2050 (see Figure 9), of which approximately 50% comes from finfish. The reason for this is the much higher edible-live weight ratio for finfish compared with shellfish (molluscs and crustaceans).
Download the full report for our forecasts on key long-term supply trends, species diversity, regional production and trade, including details of how we reach our conclusions.
Fig. 7: Global production by species group; Fig. 8: Production of seaweed; Fig. 9: Global production comparing live and edible weight. Download the report to see the full graphs and data points.