Aquaculture in the United States
Aquaculture is one of the fastest growing sectors of food production technology. Global seafood production from aquaculture rose from 3.5 million tonnes to about 63 million tonnes from 1970 to 2005. Of the 157.5 million tonnes of seafood produced worldwide in 2005, aquaculture products accounted for 40% of total production (3).
Production in the United States
U.S. marine aquaculture industry is small compared with overall U.S. and world aquaculture production. Today, U.S. aquaculture production totals about $1 billion annually, compared to world aquaculture production of $70 billion (5).
Below, a figure of aquaculture production in the United States (from 1950) shows a positive increasing trend. In 2008, U.S. aquaculture production (both marine and freshwater) was 497,000 tonnes, valued at USD $924 million (4)
Specifically, only about 20% of U.S. aquaculture production comes from marine aquaculture. Of the total U.S. marine aquaculture production, molluscan shellfish cultures (oysters, clams, mussels) top at about 66%, followed by salmon at about 25% and shrimp at about 10% (5).
Consumption in the United States
The United States is a major consumer of aquaculture products. Of the seafood eaten in the country, 84% is imported and half of those imports are from aquaculture. United States aquaculture supplies about 5% of the U.S. seafood supply with marine aquaculture supplying less than 1.5% (5).
The United States imports significant volumes of seafood products (including aquaculture products) while acting as a minor producer of seafood. Thus, the country faces a seafood trade deficit of close to $9 billion annually (5).
The importance of aquaculture is expected to increase in the future, prompted by a decline of ocean fisheries stocks coupled, in part, with a positive increasing trend for seafood consumption in the United States. Per capita seafood consumption in the United States has risen from 5.7kg in 1980 to 6.8kg in 1990. Though a slower increase than the previous decade, per capita seafood consumption totaled 7.09kg in 2000 and 7.2kg in 2009 (see table below).