A visionary ‘blue transformation’ strategy to enhance underwater food systems |

The third day of the Conference, highlighting the state of the global fishing industry and the sustainability of aquaculture, featured the launch of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)FAO) World Fisheries and Aquaculture Leading Report.

The growing demand for fish and other aquatic foods is rapidly changing the entire industry, with consumption expected to increase, mainly due to rapid population growth, changes in changes in post-harvest practices and distribution, as well as in dietary trends that focus on better health and nutrition.

Is sustainability at sea realistic?

According to the FAO, which was established in 1945 to alleviate hunger, current needs and approaches to meeting the needs of 10 billion people as the population grows, are putting pressure on the food system, and at the same time. with climate change, COVID-19Environmental degradation and conflict are putting them to the test.

The World Fisheries and Aquaculture flagship report (SOFIA) analyzes the state of global stocks as well as trends in the fishing and aquaculture industries, including at the regional level.

Focused on ‘Green Transition’, a visionary strategy designed to enhance the potential of aquatic food systems and sustainably feed the world’s growing population, SOFIA operates acts as an important reference for governments, policymakers, academics and others in the field.

A ‘Green Transition’ of how we can produce, manage, trade and consume aqua feed, to achieve UN Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs, FAO said.

As the sector continues to expand, FAO says more targeted transformation is needed to achieve a more sustainable, inclusive and equitable fisheries and aquaculture sector, while also combating interdependence. growing threat of food insecurity.

Speaking to the press, Manuel Barange, FAO’s Director of Fisheries and Aquaculture, emphasized that this is the first time such an important report has been delivered outside of FAO Headquarters in Rome.

Record high

According to FAO, aquaculture growthespecially in Asia, has brought total industry production to an all-time high of 214 million tons in 2020, including 178 million tons of aquatic products and 36 million tons of algae consumed.

Output in 2020 is 30% higher than the 2000s average and 60% more than the 1990s average.

“There is a real concern about the price of fish, the price of food in general, but the price of fish in particular has increased by 25% compared to December last yearuntil April this year. [That] put pressure on consumers,” Mr. Barange told journalists.

Unhealthy food

With more than 800 million people currently hungry and 2.4 billion severely limited in access to adequate food, the challenge is to feed a growing population without depleting resources. Currently, it continues to increase.

In this context, aquafeed systems are receiving increasing attention, due to their potential to meet increasing demands.

FAO Director-General, QU Dongyu, said: ”Growing the fishing and aquaculture sectors is critical to our efforts to end global hunger and malnutrition, but it needs to be addressed. further transformation in the field to address the ‘challenges’.

“We must transform our agricultural systems to ensure that fishery products are harvested sustainably, livelihoods are protected, and fish habitat and biodiversity are protected,” he added.


Substantial growth in aquaculture has boosted global capture fisheries and aquaculture production to record highs as aquafeeds make an increasingly important contribution to food and nutrition security over the last century. 21.

Speaking at SDG . communication zone at the Conference in Lisbon, United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Oceans, Peter Thomsoncalled aquaculture “the healthiest nutrition for the world”, has “the potential to feed our grandchildren and generations to come, if we do it right”.

Senegalese fishermen unload fish from their boats to sell in the local market and export to other countries.

© FAO / John Wessels

Senegalese fishermen unload fish from their boats to sell in the local market and export to other countries.

Aquaculture as a solution

In 2020, aquaculture production will reach 87.5 million tons, 6% higher than 2018. On the other hand, catch from high seas will decrease to 90.3 million tons, down 4% compared to 2018. with the average of the previous three years. many years.

Increasing demand is rapidly changing the fishing and aquaculture industry. Consumption is expected to increase by 15% to provide an average of 21.4 kg per capita by 2030, mainly due to rising incomes and urbanization, changes in post-harvest practices and distribution. , as well as in the trend of diets that focus on better health and nutrition.

With total aqua feed production is expected to reach 202 million tons by 2030mainly due to continued growth in aquaculture, which is expected to reach 100 million tonnes for the first time in 2027 and 106 million tonnes in 2030.

“We need to make sure we start looking at species that come to market that may be different from historical markets,” said Mr. Barange. will continue to grow, helping to relieve pressure on land-based food production systems.

People in the fishing community

“More than 58 million people live directly dependent on fisheries and aquaculture: fishermen, fishermen and aquaculturistsFAO expert Mr. Barange emphasized.

Fishing and aquaculture contribute to jobs, trade and economic development.

According to the latest figures, an estimated 58.5 million people are employed in this field, and of these, only 21% are women.

Neighbors help each other pull a fishing net in Gentuma Raya, Indonesia.

© ADB / Sales Eric

Neighbors help each other pull a fishing net in Gentuma Raya, Indonesia.

About 600 million people are estimated to depend on fishing and aquaculture in some way for their lives and livelihoods. Given those numbers, the need to build resilience is clearly crucial for equitable and sustainable development.

Margaret Nakato, coordinator of the Katosi Women’s Development Trust (KWDT) in Uganda, also participated in the Conference, working with fishermen and fishermen on the ground.

“One of the problems is that current conservation regimes are contributing to the displacement and destruction of fishing communities from their territories,” the Conference heard.

She called on Member States to engage with small fishing communities, saying that “any sustainability agenda must consider them, as well as the social, cultural and economic sectors”. of the fishing community, to ensure that our measures are effective but that we can also share the benefits fairly from the resources”.

The need to convert

More needs to be done to feed the world’s growing population while strengthening the sustainability of stocks and fragile ecosystems, and protecting lives and livelihoods, FAO said. long-term.

According to the FAO report, the sustainability of marine fisheries remains a significant concern, with the share of sustainable catches falling to 64.6% in 2019, down 1.2% from the previous year. 2017.

Joal Fishing Port in Senegal.

© FAO / Sylvain Cherkaoui

Joal fishing port in Senegal.

However, there are encouraging signs as sustainable fishing stocks provided 82.5% of the total lander volume in 2019 – an increase of 3.8% since 2017. This seems to indicate the sources. Larger reserves are being managed more efficiently.

Before leaving the stage, United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy Peter Thomson called for more funding for SDG14suggested that financing should be included in the alternatives.

“I think things are changing, emphasizing the need to fund solutions that are under development,” he said. “Action is about money, put your hand in your pocket and make it happen,” Mr. Thomson concluded.

Until Friday, UN News will provide you with daily coverage of the Conference as well as interviews, podcasts and features that you can access here.

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