By SeafoodSource staff
Published on 15 October, 2013
The creation of a global partnership to help ensure that the world’s fish supplies can keep pace with booming demand has received a green light from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) sub-committee on aquaculture.
More than 50 countries endorsed the Global Aquaculture Advancement Partnership (GAAP) program, which brings together government, UN agencies, non-governmental organizations and the private sector to “find sustainable solutions to meeting the need for fish products,” FAO said.
Recent trends predict a gradual decline in aquaculture growth, which might see the sector fall short of bridging the gap between projected supply and demand. GAAP will be tasked with overcoming obstacles to the expansion of aquaculture, including the increasing scarcity of land and water for the development of inland fisheries and the need to expand aquaculture activities in the world’s seas and oceans.
“This is an alarming situation and urgent concerted efforts to build a strong private-public partnership are imperative to maintain the current rate of growth of aquaculture over the coming years,” said Árni M. Mathiesen, FAO assistant director-general for fisheries and aquaculture.
“GAAP will also help tap the huge potential of aquaculture to help reduce poverty, unemployment and socio-economic inequalities through proper planning and development.”
A tool to help countries assess whether public and private aquaculture certification schemes are in line with FAO’s global guidelines for certification has also received a nod from the sub-committee, which is the only global intergovernmental forum discussing aquaculture development.
“It is overwhelmingly positive that consumers want to see a label on a product showing that it is sustainably produced. The challenge is to ensure certification provides adequate incentives to small producers and eventually contributes to overall sustainability of the sector,” said Rohana Subasinghe, FAO senior aquaculture officer. “Many schemes claim they are within the FAO guidelines, but this new evaluation framework will allow them to self-assess whether that’s true.” The evaluation framework will also now pass to the Committee on Fisheries for approval in June next year.