Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a growing threat to human and animal health. However, in aquatic animals-the fastest growing food animal sector globally-AMR trends are seldom documented, particularly in Asia, which contributes two-thirds of global food fish production. Here, we present a systematic review and meta-analysis of 749 point prevalence surveys reporting antibiotic-resistant bacteria from aquatic food animals in Asia, extracted from 343 articles published in 2000-2019. We find concerning levels of resistance to medically important antimicrobials in foodborne pathogens. In aquaculture, the percentage of antimicrobial compounds per survey with resistance exceeding 50% (P50) plateaued at 33% [95% confidence interval (CI) 28 to 37%] between 2000 and 2018. In fisheries, P50 decreased from 52% [95% CI 39 to 65%] to 22% [95% CI 14 to 30%]. We map AMR at 10-kilometer resolution, finding resistance hotspots along Asia's major river systems and coastal waters of China and India. Regions benefitting most from future surveillance efforts are eastern China and India. Scaling up surveillance to strengthen epidemiological evidence on AMR and inform aquaculture and fisheries interventions is needed to mitigate the impact of AMR globally.
© 2021. The Author(s).