Knowing whether aquaculture in developing countries helps the poorest in communities is an important question for development agencies who want to make pro-poor investments. Historically, there have been two arguments that it does not. First, to be a fish farmer you need to have a certain amount of wealth, so the poorest are unable to become producers. Second, aquaculture tends to produce larger, high-value fish that are too expensive for the poorest consumers.
Mike Velings, founder and managing partner of Aquaspark, guest blogs about social-impact investing in small-scale aquaculture. In August 2010, I attended a lecture by Stephen Hall on aquaculture in Chicago. To say the least, I expected the room of environmentalists to be uninspired given aquaculture’s subpar reputation.
Indisputably, China is a major global influencer. Like many other sectors, the current and future dynamics of fisheries and aquaculture are significantly affected by what happens in the country. China's share of the world's fish production rose from 6% in 1980 to 35% in 2012. It is also now the world's top exporter of fish, with 30% of the global export market, and the third largest importer after the United States and Japan.