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.
A guest blog by Richard Waite of the World Resources Institute (WRI), Michael Phillips of WorldFish, and Randall Brummett of the World Bank. The world’s appetite for fish is steadily growing. Finfish and shellfish currently make up one-sixth of the animal protein people consume globally. As the global wild fish catch peaked in the 1990s, aquaculture—or fish farming—has grown rapidly to meet world fish demand, more than doubling production between 2000 and 2012.