Aquaculture is the collective name for the cultivation of all types of animals and plants in water. An industry that is growing in rural areas.
Over the last 60 years global aquaculture has had strong growth and global production has increased from one million tonnes per year in the 1950s to 64 million tonnes in 2011. Aquaculture is growing faster than any other food industry with an average of 8.4% per annum since 1970. If you take an average value every five years, aquaculture takes top spot of all other types of food production for every period since 1974. Over 90% of global aquaculture production (tonnes) takes place in Asia, where China is the largest producer (61.5%).
In Europe, production has not followed the same expansion in other parts of the world. Production has indeed increased, but in relation to global production, the EU accounts for about 2.5%. Production in the whole of Europe is 4.2% of world production, with Norway as the largest producer. Norwegian salmon farming has had strong growth since the 1970s and produces almost 1 million tons/year.
In Sweden production of farmed food fish has increased from approximately 5000 tonnes during much of the 1990s and 2000s to 12 500 tonnes in 2012. However, production decreased by 6% in 2013. Sweden also produces 1000 tonnes of fish for restocking and 1700 tonnes of mussels. The value of all production for consumption was 357 million in 2013, which is 17 million higher than the year before.
Swedish fish farming is dominated by rainbow trout (84%), but the production of Arctic charr has increased in recent years. Worldwide, more than 300 different species are grown commercially, and there is a growing interest in aquaculture in Sweden to cultivate other fish species than salmonids. In Eastern Sweden, focus has mainly been focused on turbot, pike-perch and perch but also tropical species such as tilapia, catfish and giant prawns. In Western Sweden, marine species such as wolffish and lobster have been identified as potential aquaculture species. With new production systems, the choice of fish species is no longer limited by natural conditions to the same degree as in open systems.