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Can marine fisheries and acquaculture meat 2050 demand for fish?

This paper fish demand in 2050 will be met but only if fish resources are managed sustainably and the animal feeds industry reduces its reliance on wild fish.

From the paper:

'The model took into account the effects of climate change on ocean productivity, the governance framework and industry.  It finds that  that realistic scenarios for technological change in aquaculture and institutional development in capture fisheries can combine to ensure that both current per capita consumption levels and reasonable projected increases in per capita consumption levels can be sustained with the right investments in the fish production sector. Climate change impacts on production may not be the major factor in achieving the required levels of fish production to feed a growing, wealthier global population with a higher fish protein intake. This should not be interpreted as suggesting that climate change will not affect food systems sustainability or the costs of producing food. Food systems are impacted through multiple pathways, from the health and safety of food producers to the costs of transport and storage.  The conclusion is that in the case of capture fisheries, climate change impacts on production may not be the most significant factor in securing fish availability in the near future (to 2050). Ensuring that fisheries are efficiently governed and that aquaculture continues to grow in a sustainable manner will be the main constraints to the sustainability of global fish production. Policies encouraging improved environmental standards in aquaculture production and greater commitment to address governance weaknesses in capture fisheries will both be required. Recent reviews of successful governance reform in fisheries and of improving environmental standards in aquaculture give reasons for hope.'

 

Abstract

Expansion in the world's human population and economic development will increase future demand for fish products. As global fisheries yield is constrained by ecosystems productivity and management effectiveness, per capita fish consumption can only be maintained or increased if aquaculture makes an increasing contribution to the volume and stability of global fish supplies. Here, we use predictions of changes in global and regional climate (according to IPCC emissions scenario A1B), marine ecosystem and fisheries production estimates from high resolution regional models, human population size estimates from United Nations prospects, fishmeal and oil price estimations, and projections of the technological development in aquaculture feed technology, to investigate the feasibility of sustaining current and increased per capita fish consumption rates in 2050. We conclude that meeting current and larger consumption rates is feasible, despite a growing population and the impacts of climate change on potential fisheries production, but only if fish resources are managed sustainably and the animal feeds industry reduces its reliance on wild fish. Ineffective fisheries management and rising fishmeal prices driven by greater demand could, however, compromise future aquaculture production and the availability of fish products.

 

Reference

Merino G, Barange M, Blanchard J L, Harle J, Holmes R, Allen I, Allison E H, Badjeck M C, Dulvy N K, Holt J, Jennings S, Mullon C, Rodwell L D (2012), Can marine fisheries and aquaculture meet fish demand from a growing human population in a changing climate, Global Environmental Change.

You can download the paper (subscription access only) here.

NERC has covered the paper here.

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Publication
09 May 2012
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