By Foster Obi
Total fish production in the world is set to increase to 204 million tonnes in 2030, up 15 percent from 2018, with aquaculture’s share growing from its current 46 46 percent. This figure is according to the State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture (SOFIA) report released today by the Food and Agricultural Organization, FAO, an arm of the united Nations.
FAO’s State of the World’s Fisheries and Aquaculture 2020 tracks growing fish production and consumption, and highlights the promise of sustainability actions.The report shows that the growth is around half the increase recorded in the previous decade, and translates into an Annual per capita fish food consumption which is forecast to reach 21.5 kilograms by 2030.
From the report, worldwide per capita fish consumption has reached a new record of 20.5 kilograms per year and is poised to increase further in the decade ahead, underscoring its critical role in global food and nutrition security. Sustainable aquaculture development and effective fisheries management are critical to maintain these trends.
“Fish and fisheries products are recognized not only as some of the healthiest foods on the planet but also as some of the less impactful on the natural environment,” says FAO Director-General QU Dongyu, emphasizing that they must play a more central role in food security and nutrition strategies at all levels.
The Director-General also pointed to SOFIA’s reporting of growing evidence that while effective fisheries management results in robust or rebuilding of fish stocks, failure to implement these measures threaten their contributions to food security and livelihoods. The underlying reasons for sustainability failures are complex and need tailored solutions.
Some 34.2 percent of fish stocks are now fished at biologically unsustainable levels, according to SOFIA’s benchmark analysis. That overall measure is too high, and is not globally improving, although it’s welcome to know that 78.7 percent of all fish landed come from biologically sustainable stocks.
Furthermore, sustainability trends for many major species are improving. Catches of all kinds of tuna reached their highest level, about 7.9 million tonnes in 2018, and two thirds of the these stocks are now fished at biologically sustainable levels, a sharp increase of 10 percentage points in just two years, testament to intensive fisheries management in a sector marked by a high-value commodity and by significant overcapacity among some fleets.
“The improvement, the fruit of contributions from many stakeholders, attest to the importance of active management to reach and maintain biological sustainability, and serves to underscore how urgently we must replicate such approaches in fisheries and regions where management systems are in poor shape,” said Manuel Barange, Director of the FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department. “Not surprisingly, we notice that sustainability is particularly difficult in places where hunger, poverty and conflict exist, but there is no alternative to sustainable solutions.”
Pix: FAO Boss, Qu Dongyu