Which countries eat the most seafood per person?

The top 10 seafood-consuming nations in the world, plus trends among the world’s richest countries.

Around 200 million tonnes of seafood are produced globally every year. (credit: Jakub Kapusnak via Unsplash)

Seafood is a vital food group and form of income for millions of people around the world. The seafood industry has more than quadrupled in the last 50 years and is estimated to be worth around $167.4 billion in 2021, according to statistica

Around 200 million tonnes of seafood are produced globally every year. This comes from a combination of wild catch and aquaculture. The rapid rise of fish and crustacean farming in the last two decades now means that more seafood is produced via aquaculture (106 million tonnes) than comes from wild catch (94 million tonnes), according to the most recent data collected by Our World in Data.

However, seafood consumption trends vary significantly around the world. Some countries depend on it for a majority of their food and sustaining their economies, while others barely eat or produce any seafood at all. 
The best way to assess how much a country depends on seafood is to look at how much each person eats. The chart below shows seafood consumption per capita of the top 10 seafood-consuming nations in the world, according to 2017 data from Our World in Data.

Chart produced by Harry Baker using data from Our World in Data.

In contrast, the country with the lowest seafood consumption per capita in the world is Afghanistan (0.25 kg) followed by Tajikistan (0.37 kg), Ethiopia (0.44 kg) and Mongolia(0.48 kg).

The top 10 seafood consuming nations (listed above) vary widely in terms of population and gross domestic product (GDP), which is a key indicator of wealth. Together they still represent only a fraction of the total seafood consumption globally. 

To get a better picture of the wider global consumption it is helpful to look at the 10 countries with the highest GDP; United States of America, China, Japan, Germany, United Kingdom, Frame, India, Italy, Brazil and Canada. Between them, these countries make up just less than half (around 48%) of the global population.

The chart below shows the seafood consumption per capita of the 10 countries with the highest GDP.

Chart produced by Harry Baker using data from Our World in Data.

As you can see from both charts seafood consumption per capita has much more to do with the geographic location and cultural differences of each nation rather than how much money they have. 


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