Global fish production has grown steadily in the last five decades (Figure 1), withfood fish supply increasing at an average annual rate of 3.2 percent, outpacing world population growth at 1.6 percent. World per capita apparent fish consumption increased from an average of 9.9 kg in the 1960s to 19.2 kg in 2012 (preliminary estimate) (Table 1 and Figure 2, all data presented are subject to rounding). This impressive development has been driven by a combination of population growth, rising incomes and urbanization, and facilitated by the strong expansion of fish production and more efficient distribution channels.
China has been responsible for most of the growth in fish availability, owing to the dramatic expansion in its fish production, particularly from aquaculture. Its per capita apparent fish consumption also increased an average annual rate of 6.0 percent in the period 1990–2010 to about 35.1 kg in 2010. Annual per capita fish supply in the rest of the world was about 15.4 kg in 2010 (11.4 kg in the 1960s and 13.5 kg in the 1990s).
Despite the surge in annual per capita apparent fish consumption in developing regions (from 5.2 kg in 1961 to 17.8 kg in 2010) and low-income food-deficit countries (LIFDCs) (from 4.9 to 10.9 kg), developed regions still have higher levels of consumption, although the gap is narrowing. A sizeable and growing share of fish consumed in developed countries consists of imports, owing to steady demand and declining domestic fishery production. In developing countries, fish consumption tends to be based on locally and seasonally available products, with supply driving the fish chain. However, fuelled by rising domestic income and wealth, consumers in emerging economies are experiencing a diversification of the types of fish available owing to an increase in fishery imports.