Increased Demand for Fish and Failing Fisheries Pose Threat to Global Food Security

Added by on February 2, 2011

A new report on the state of the world’s fisheries and aquaculture highlights the implications of the conflict between increases in fish demand and failing fisheries on global food security, the World Wildlife Fund said on Monday.

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The latest State of the World’s Fisheries and Aquaculture (SOFIA) report was published today by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome.

It reported an increase in fisheries that are both fully exploited (53 %); and those that are over exploited, depleted or recovering from depletion (32 %).

The proportion of fisheries that are able to produce higher catches is, according to the SOFIA 2010 report, at a 35-year low, at only 15 %.

Meanwhile, there is a significant upwards trend in the demand for fish; in 2008 the per capita demand for fish reached a record level of 17 kg live weight equivalent.

The report also showed that some 540 million people, or eight percent of the world’s population, depend on fisheries for their livelihood. “That’s a lot of people relying on a sector dependent on a declining resource,” said Dr Robin Davies, deputy leader of the WWF Smart Fishing Initiative.

The report calls for improved management of fisheries by making use of technological advances, and to improve measures that work to increase seafood sustainability.

Alfred Schumm, leader of the Smart Fishing Initiative, said that many promising initiatives have been observed, and he added that “What this report shows us is that we cannot relax our efforts to bring long term sustainability to a key element of global food security.”

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