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Is intensive aquaculture similar to intensive land-based livestock production?

In 2016, fifty percent of global fish production was aquaculture-based fishery. With reduced abundance of wild caught fish stocks and increasing demand for seafood, this percentage is likely to increase in the future. Aquaculture is seen as an alternative to global and domestic decline in wild caught fish stocks. The rise in disposable incomes and awareness of the health benefits of eating fish is expected to see an expansion of the industry.

Seafood is part of most Australians’ staple diet. Seafood is the fourth most consumed meat in Australia following poultry, beef and pork. In 2011, the top five species of seafood consumed were prawns, canned tuna, crumbed/battered fish, squid and fresh salmon. Of these species, prawns, tuna and salmon may all be farmed.

When animals, including fish, are farmed for food, we need to care about their welfare from birth all the way through to slaughter. Animals must be treated humanely and practices that have the potential to cause pain, injury or suffering avoided. It is essential that those responsible for managing farmed animals ensure their welfare is an integral part of every aspect of production every day. For fish, this includes providing enough space to swim normally in clean, oxygen-rich water, handling fish in a manner that avoids stress, and stunning to ensure unconsciousness at the time of slaughter.


Commonwealth of Australia (2015) Australian fisheries and aquaculture statistics 2014.

Food and Agriculture Organization (2016) State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture – 2016.

IBISWorld (2015) Aquaculture in Australia November 2015.

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Updated on May 1, 2019
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