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Aquaculture in Asian Countries

By Jennifer-Justine Kirsch and Marco Cerqueira

In the past few decades, several Asian countries have risen to become the largest finfish producers worldwide. In 2018, almost 90% of all commodified fish came from Asian countries, with China, India, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Bangladesh dominating the global market. Today, production is growing fast, and this adds a wide range of welfare problems. Tapping into existing challenges and a dynamic industry, now is an important time to explore high-leverage opportunities for fish welfare work in this region. 


This report will give an overview of aquaculture in Asian countries and discuss the opportunities and challenges of fish welfare work with a focus on South, East, and Southeast Asia. The issues raised here require urgent action and shared responsibility. They also require the consideration of complex interactions between cultural beliefs, the international fish trade, fish consumption, institutional politics, and farmers' awareness of fish welfare. There is no single Asian country that is most promising for fish welfare work. Rather, they all have opportunity for and constraints to impactful work. But with 73 to 180 billion fish alive on farms right now and even more in the future, effective work in any of these top-producing countries could affect billions of lives.

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