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Latin America and the Caribbean show lower fish per capita consumption at present. (Photo: Stock File)

Latin Americans will consume 33pct more fish by 2030

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Thursday, July 12, 2018, 00:40 (GMT + 9)

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) predicts that by 2030 there will be an important boost to the current low consumption of fish in Latin America and the Caribbean.

According to the report the State of the World's Fisheries and Aquaculture 2018 published by the international organization, it is expected that the total consumption of fish in that region will increase by 33 per cent.

This forecast is particularly important for the region, since it is currently a net exporter and a large aquaculture producer but it has the lowest per capita consumption worldwide: only 9.8 kilos per year, compared to 20.4 kilograms of global average per person. In 2015, Latin Americans consumed only 6.2 million tonnes of fish, less than all other regions of the world, except for Oceania.

By 2030, total fish consumption is expected to increase in all regions of the planet. In addition to the aforementioned 33 per cent in Latin America, it is expected that in Africa it will grow by 37 per cent, in Oceania, by 28 per cent and in Asia by 20 per cent.

However, despite these increases, the report estimates that by 2030 approximately 71 per cent of fish available for human consumption, some 184 million tonnes, will be consumed in Asian countries, while the lowest quantities will be consumed in Oceania and Latin America.

The projections of the study indicate that by 2030, the region of Latin America and the Caribbean will see a growth of 24.2 per cent in fish production, both from wild fisheries and aquaculture, which will mean a change from 12.9 million tonnes to 16 million tonnes.

It is also expected that aquaculture production will continue to expand in all continents for that year, and larger increases are expected in particular in Latin America, where it would grow by 49 per cent, changing from more than 2.7 million tonnes to something more than 4 millions tonnes.

At present, Latin America continues to be a net exporter of fish. Its exports, which mainly include shrimp, tuna, salmon and fishmeal from Ecuador, Chile and Peru, increased in 2016 and again in 2017 due to higher production and a rebound in tuna prices.

By 2030, the fish exports projected from the region will increase by 29 per cent, from 3.9 million tonnes in 2016 to 5.1 million tonnes. Imports will experience an even greater increase (53 per cent), changing from 2.3 million tonnes in 2016 to 3.5 million tonnes in 2030.

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