World-wide capture fisheries production reached a plateau in the mid-1980s, and even with improved fishery management, it is not likely to significantly increase. Meanwhile, seafood demand has risen significantly. To meet this increased demand, worldwide aquaculture production grew annually by an average of 5.3 percent per year between 2001 and 2018, making it one of the fastest growing form of food production in the world.
Currently, about half of the world’s seafood comes from aquaculture, and this percentage is projected to increase. Many countries are developing regulatory systems for aquaculture and investing heavily in sustainable aquaculture research and development to provide seafood and create economic opportunities for coastal communities.
Farmed Seafood Imports to United States
NOAA Fisheries estimates that between 70 and 85 percent of seafood consumed in the U.S. is imported. We further estimate that about half of this imported seafood is from aquaculture. This results in a large and growing annual seafood trade deficit of more than $16.9 billion. Popular aquaculture imports include shrimp, followed by Atlantic salmon, tilapia, and shellfish (scallops, mussels, clams, and oysters).
Regulation of aquaculture operations varies widely by species, farming system, and country. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for ensuring that seafood imports are safe for U.S. consumers. NOAA’s Seafood Inspection Program works closely with the FDA on this effort, offering a variety services that ensure compliance with all applicable food regulations, including audits of seafood processing plants, product inspection, and training.
For more information on how aquaculture is regulated in the United States, visit the Fisheries Aquaculture Policy.