FAO: Policymakers must address aquaculture

The future of the global seafood industry is linked to the ability of policymakers to provide a “conducive landscape” for sustainable and profitable operations, according to a recently released report from the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization.

In its annual report, which is generally devoted solely to agriculture and food security, the FAO this year included a snapshot of the global seafood industry, asserting that fisheries need to be considered in any discussion about food security.

Per capita global seafood consumption totaled 16.4 kilograms in 2006 and is projected to reach 17.1 kilograms by 2020, according to the report.

While wild fisheries production has stabilized at 90 to 95 million metric tons worldwide over the past 10 years, aquaculture is increasingly fulfilling the growing demand for seafood; farmed fish now represents 36 percent of global seafood production. The FAO projects that by 2020 aquaculture will account for some 70 million metric tons of fish, or 43 percent of global seafood production.

However, the FAO echoed concerns linked to fish farming, cautioning policymakers that aquaculture has economic, environmental and social implications that could be inadequately addressed under existing regulatory frameworks.

In terms of sustainability, the FAO recognized that various measures have been developed to achieve sustainable fisheries, such as the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries.

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