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Aquaculture products are sold live, fresh, frozen, canned, smoked, salted, pickled, and dried. Fish are processed as whole-dressed or fillets, fresh (packed on ice), or frozen [in blocks for wholesale markets or individually quick-frozen (IQF)]. Crustaceans are sold head on or off, peeled, or shell on. There is increasing interest in expanding value-added offerings beyond the traditional breaded and glazed products. Rapid processing and preservation are necessary because fish and shellfish spoil easily. As poikilotherms (cold-blooded organisms), fish contain enzymes that function at relatively low temperatures, which leads to the rapid decomposition of harvested fish.

Table 1 Worldwide aquaculture production of selected species and groups for 2001, in metric tons

Species/group Quantity produced (mt)

Finfish Freshwater

Cyprinids (carps, barbels, etc.) 16,427,626

Tilapia and other cichlids 1,385,223

Channel catfish 271,075

Other freshwater finfish 2,718,287

Freshwater finfish total 20,802,211 Diadromous

Atlantic salmon 1,025,287

Rainbow trout 510,055

Milkfish 495,250

Eels 230,992

Seabass (Lates calcarifer) 15,546

Other diadromous finfish 16,330

Diadromous finfish total 2,293,460 Marine finfish

Japanese seabream 873

Mandarin fish 116,423

European seabass and gilthead seabream 44,637

Mullets 10,648

Other marine finfish 890,045

Marine finfish total 1,062,626

Total finfish 24,158,297 Crustaceans

Marine shrimp 1,270,875

Crabs 164,232

Freshwater prawns and other crustaceans 514,451

Red swamp crawfish 13,847

Other crustaceans 36,278

Crustaceans total 1,999,683 Molluscs

Oysters 4,207,818

Clams, cockles 3,109,024

Scallops, pectens 1,219,127

Mussels 1,370,631

Freshwater molluscs 10,399

Abalones, winkles, conchs 5,425

Squids, cuttlefish, octopus 16

Other marine mollusks 1,344,763

Molluscs total 11,267,203

Miscellaneous animals (frogs, turtles, tunicates) 164,883 Seaweeds

Brown seaweeds 4,691,210

Red seaweeds 2,215,193

Green seaweeds 31,913

Miscellaneous aquatic plants 3,623,963

Seaweeds total 10,562,279

Aquaculture total, excluding seaweeds 37,590,066

Aquaculture total, including seaweeds 48,152,345"/>
Fig. 2 Recording channel catfish biomass weights loaded per tank on an 18 wheeled transport truck, after harvesting from a commercial pond. (View this art in color at

The rate of decomposition is species-dependent and relatively faster in fattier, cold-water fish.[8]

salmon, crawfish, catfish, and shrimp have had major international political ramifications in recent years.

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