Inland fish farming

World production of freshwater fish


World freshwater fish farming produced a total of more than 26 million tonnes in 2005. Asian production represented 95 % with China’s contribution over 70%.

The main fish family in production is the Cyprinidae (carp family), accounting for about 75% of total world production in 2005: more than 19 million tonnes. The cichlids and catfish follow a long way behind.

Production of carp and cyprinids

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With a total production of more than 4 million tonnes, the silver carp - Hypophthalmichthys molitrix - is the most important reared species in this group, followed by the grass carp - Ctenopharyngodon idellus - (3.9 Mt) then the common carp - Cyprinus carpio - (3 Mt) and bighead carp - Hypophthalmichthys nobilis - (2.2 Mt).

China is the top world producer of cyprinids. India is in second place, a long way behind, followed by Bangladesh and Indonesia. Cyprinid production is almost exclusively Asian.

Cyprinids, particularly the wide variety of carp species, represent a cheap source of protein for subsistence aquaculture in “warm” temperate and subtropical countries.

Yields recorded for extensive carp farming or production in association with other species is increasing steadily in China (Ifremer / Yves Harache)

Yield tonnes/ha 



In ponds 



In lakes 



Production of Tilapias and Cichilids



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One species, Nile tilipia - Oreochromis niloticus – accounts for 84 % of production, or 1.7 million tonnes. This fish is farmed in South-East Asia, Central America and Africa

Tilapia is a low priced fish for subsistence aquaculture in hot countries.

Catfish production

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The diversity of different families (Ictalaridae, Pangasiidae, Siluridae, Clariidae, etc.) allows these fish to be grown on the Asian, American and African continents. This type of subsistence aquaculture is adapted to both developing and industrialised countries. In the United States, catfish aquaculture corresponds to a specific market demand.

FAO 2007 (2005 data)