This study estimates the number of farmed fish slaughtered for food globally each year, using FAO aquaculture production tonnages and estimated mean weights for fish species. By this method it is estimated that between 37 and 120 billion* (midpoint around 80 billion*) fish were killed for food in 2010.

Note that this estimate does not include non fish species e.g. lobsters, fish farmed for bait and does not include the fish deaths arising in fish farms prior to harvest; in the capture of wild fish for feed or re-stocking; or from environmental impacts on surrounding wildlife.

A brief description of the study is given on introduction estimate of farmed fish numbers. Full details and results of this study are given below.

The study

This paper describes the method and discusses the results and animal welfare implications:

     Study to estimate numbers of farmed fish killed in global aquaculture each year (pdf 540 KB) 40 pages. July 2012.

Data web pages

These web pages show fish numbers estimated from FAO aquaculture production tonnages and estimated mean weights (EMWs), and detail how these estimated mean weights were obtained.

Click on the following link to view the data on screen. You may need to expand the new window. From there you can follow the “EMW id” link to drill down to full details of each estimated mean weight:

     Screen 1: Estimated numbers of individuals in annual global aquaculture production tonnage (FAO) of fish species (2010).

More documentation

The following spreadsheet contains the data and calculations of estimated farmed fish numbers for 2010, as shown on Screen 1 (see ‘Data web pages’ above):

     Spreadsheet4_emws_global (XLS, 520 KB)

The following spreadsheet provides further analysis, with graphs, of estimated farmed fish numbers by country, year and species for 2000-2010. This is a zipped file because the file is very large:

     Spreadsheet5_emws_country_year (zipped XLS, 9.9 MB zipped; 38.4 MB unzipped)

The following spreadsheet details the fish size references used in deriving estimated mean weights, as shown on Screens 3 & 4 accessed via Screen 1 (see ‘Data web pages’ above):

     Spreadsheet6_refs (XLS, 92 KB).



* estimated range 36,734 million to 121,757 million (midpoint 79,246 million) rounded to 2 significant figures.