Our Japanese restaurant in Seattle is deeply invested in the seafood industry. This is why we are interested to see the latest developments in the global fish business. According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, the demand for fish has reached record levels. As of 2013, the seafood trade jumped to 160 million tons, representing an increase of three million from 2012. This comprises a $136 billion industry in exports, which adds up to good news for the international economy.
The bad news is that not everyone is getting their fair share out of this thriving market. Developing countries are getting the short end of the stick, producing about 61% of the fish supply by volume but only receiving 54% by value. The FAO has observed that small fishing communities, who make up roughly 90% of the world’s seafood workforce, don’t possess the capital and bargaining power to compete with the more powerful fishing businesses. Hopefully, world governments will find a way to give these smaller fishers the support they require to foster a sustainable and equitable seafood industry well into the future.