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10 Countries that Export the Most Fish in the World

If ever you’re wondering where fish on your sushi comes from, join us in discovering the 10 countries that export the most fish in the world! Chances are that salmon you are eating may have come from the Northern Atlantic!

“Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime”. Sound familiar? It appeared on a novel in 1885, which means that it is better to teach something to someone that to do it for them, and “teaching a man to fish” will certainly feed him every day. Subsistence fishing is a type of fishing in small-scale and low-output, usually practiced by individuals for everyday consumption and not for commercial gain. This evolved into commercial fishing, which uses boats of different sizes, and is usually large-scale. However, the ever-growing demand for fish has pushed fishermen to resort to unethical fishing practices such as blast fishing and trawling. These destroy reefs, which are breeding grounds for various marine animals including fishes. Conservation groups, scientists, and agencies all around the world have sounded the alarm on overfishing and its ugly outcomes, which have, in turn, improved rules and regulations for commercial fishing.

Countries that Export the Most Fish in the World

Tim UR/

Fortunately, there is such a thing as aquaculture. Also known as aquafarming, it is the practice of breeding plants, fishes, and other marine life. Much like cattle-raising or poultry-farming, aqua farming involves taking wild animals and breeding them, which in this case is farming freshwater fish. Like the 10 countries that export the most fruit in the world, many nations have wide aquaculture sites, or fish farms, dedicated to farming a single species of fish. Without any access to the sea, landlocked countries have benefitted much from aqua farming. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, the growth in world fish production still outpaces global population growth. In 2012 alone, 90 million tons of aquaculture was produced, which is an all-time high. It was also estimated that fish consumption per capita, or the amount of fish consumed by a person per year, will be 19kg of fish. Presently, aquafarming continues to outpace population growth and now accounts for more than half of the world’s fish production.

To identify the 10 countries that export the most fish, the first step was to identify the types of exported fishes. These fell into 3 main categories – fresh fish, live fish and frozen fish. Unfortunately, this data was only available on TradeMap. Other marine products such as whales, sharks and crustaceans were not included. In addition, the quantity of exported fish was the basis for this list, not the value of exported fish as reported by other websites. The total number of exported live, fresh and frozen fish determined the places on our list. Additional information on fishing was obtained from World’s Top Exports, World Atlas and Food and Agriculture Organization. Indicated values are actual values for 2015.

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