In 2008, capture fisheries and aquaculture supplied more than 140 million tons of fish around the world, approximately 115 million tons of which were for human consumption.

Although the estimated per capita supply was approximately 10 kg in the 1960s, by 2008 it had increased to an average of 17 kg. Adults require 60 g of protein each day; approximately 50% of this amount can be supplied by 150 g of fish.

In 2007, fish supplied 15.7% of the animal protein consumed and 6.1% of all protein consumed. Over just a few years in China, the per capita fish supply increased rapidly and was approximately 26 kg in 2008. Asia accounted for two-thirds of human consumption; 36.9 million tons were consumed outside China and 33.6 million tons were consumed in China. The average fish consumption per capita for North America, Central America and the Caribbean, South America, Oceania, and Europe was 24.1, 9.5, 8.4, 20.8, 24.5, and 20.8 kg, respectively.

Fish and seafood consumption varied by more than 100-fold between different areas of the world as well as between the inland and coastal regions of countries. Over the past 20 years, the food security of seafood has been improved due to technological developments in processing, distribution, transportation, and storage. These improvements realized cost saving and enhanced safety and quality. Moreover, the development of large-scale, long-distance refrigerated transport and faster shipments revitalized international trade and resulted in the consumption of a wider variety of species and fresh fish. In developed countries, consumers demanded high quality, convenience, reliability, and safety. Consumers in these countries also seek out food that has health-promoting qualities.