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MCS says a new report published today shows how important aquaculture is to global food supply, but highlights the need for the industry to develop in a way that minimises environmental impacts.

Aquaculture has grown at an average rate of 8.4% since 1970 and total production reached 65.8 million tonnes in 2008 according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United States (FAO). Aqauculture in the US is a $100+billion industry that now provides more than half of all seafood consumed in the world, surpassing wild-caught seafood.

This new and comprehensive analysis by the WorldFish Center and Conservation International has investigated the environmental impact of the world's major aquaculture production systems and species, and provides the first ever global assessment of trends and impacts of cultivated seafood. The analysis has found that, compared to other forms of animal protein production such as livestock, aquaculture is more efficient.

Among the landmark report's major findings are two key highlights:  (1)  the environmental impact of aquaculture varies dramatically by country, region, production system and species , and (2) a review of published information found that aquaculture is more efficient and less damaging to the environment, compared to other animal protein production systems such as beef and pork, and likely to be among the most important sources of protein for human health and nutrition in growing urban populations in many parts of the developing world. Meaning - there is great room for improvement, by identifying and sharing best practices, increasing investment in innovation, and strengthening policies and regulations.

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