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The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2012

The FAO has published its latest State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture report.  It finds that 2010, people consumed about 128 million tonnes of fish. In the last five decades, world fish food supply has outpaced global population growth, and today fish provides more than 4.3 billion people with about 15 percent of their intake of animal protein. Estimates for 2010 point to fish consumption reaching another new high of 18.6 kg per person.

Stimulated by higher demand for fish, world fisheries and aquaculture production is projected to reach about 172 million tonnes in 2021, with most of the growth coming from aquaculture. Aquaculture will remain one of the fastest-growing animal food-producing sectors.

In addition, employment in the fisheries and aquaculture primary sector has continued to grow faster than in agriculture – providing about 55 million jobs. Overall, including ancillary activities (e.g. processing and packaging) and dependants, the sector supports the livelihoods of 10–12 percent of the world’s population.  Small-scale fisheries employ more than 90 percent of the world's capture fishers and are vital to food and nutrition security, poverty alleviation and poverty prevention. Women make up at least 50 percent of the workforce in inland fisheries and market as much as 60 percent of seafood in Asia and West Africa.

Fish and fishery products continue to be among the most-traded food commodities worldwide.

As regards  fisheries almost 30 percent of these fish stocks are overexploited - a slight decrease from the previous two years, about 57 percent are fully exploited (i.e. at or very close to their maximum sustainable production), and only about 13 percent are non-fully exploited.  The report argues that strengthened governance and effective fisheries management are required. Promoting sustainable fishing and fish farming can provide incentives for wider ecosystem stewardship and advocates enabling mechanisms such as the adoption of an ecosystem approach to fisheries and aquaculture with fair and responsible tenure systems.

The report includes chapters on issues such as: fuel efficiency in fishing fleets; gender issues; aquafeed developments and issues; ecolabelling and certification schemes; ecosystems approaches to fisheries and aquaculture.

You can read the press release and access the report here.

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