The Israeli Journal of Aquaculture - Bamidgeh 53(1), 2001, 5-14


Dan Mires

Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Ministry of Agriculture, Hakirya, Tel Aviv, Israel

(Received 10.2.01, Accepted 29.3.01)


Between 1994 and 1998, the total inland (freshwater) aquaculture production in Israel rose 6.5% from 15,681 to 16,700 tons. This positive trend, however, reversed in 1999, as a consequence of an outburst of a new viral disease that killed 1500 tons of common carp and large quantities of ornamental cyprinids. During the same period (1994-9), marine aquaculture production grew 688% from 350 to 2408 tons. In the future, this trend may be inhibited by environmental regulations. Because of the expected demographic growth, the local demand for edible fish will grow 16.5% from 64,910 tons in 1999 to 75,600 tons by 2005. To meet this demand, the combined supply from imports and local production will have to grow at 2.58% per year. Anything short of that will boost prices and possibly deter consumers from buying fish. In spite of industry efforts, production of local fisheries and aquaculture has not exceeded 6000 and 19,000 tons, respectively. Fish imports average 63.7% of the national consumption. Most of the imports originate in marine fisheries. According to the FAO, supply from global fisheries is expected to lag behind global demand, causing prices to rise. Long-term efforts by Israeli farmers and the government to adopt aquafarms have enabled inland aquaculture to cope with increasing restrictions on water use for agriculture and maintain a slight growth in production during the last decade. If financially backed by the government, aquafarms are expected to develop intensive closed water culture systems that will eventually enhance production in spite of the scarcity of water.