Sustainable fisheries and aquaculture are crucial to food security and nutrition, says FAO

Urgent action is needed to address the risks of climate change and pollution to fisheries and aquaculture, says the FAO director-general.

Urgent action is needed to address the adverse effects of overfishing, pollution and climate change on fisheries and aquaculture, says FAO director-general José Graziano da Silva.

Speaking at a meeting of the world's only inter-governmental forum on fisheries and aquaculture issues, Graziano da Silva called for urgent action to address climate change and other threats to sustainable fisheries and fish stocks. The FAO chief said fisheries and aquaculture make a ‘central contribution to food security and nutrition’ – adding that sustainable development in the world's island and coastal states was especially dependent on the ‘vitality of oceans and fish stocks.’

"Overfishing, pollution and climate change are putting this vitality at risk. The impacts are already evident," said Graziano da Silva.

"I want to stress the urgency of individual and collective action to address climate change, one of the most pressing challenges the world faces today," he said, adding that FAO was making it a priority in its work to improve sustainable development through its ‘Blue Growth Initiative’.

The Committee on Fisheries (COFI) opened its 9-13 June session to address issues related to the long-term wellbeing of marine and inland fisheries and aquaculture, and to discuss potential action by governments, regional fishery bodies, NGOs, fish workers and other actors in the international community.

Vital protein source

Graziano da Silva pointed out that fisheries and aquaculture are the sources of 17% of the animal protein consumed in the world and up to 50% in some Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Asian countries.

It is also central to the livelihoods of some of the most vulnerable families in the world.

“The world's poor, in rural and coastal areas, are among the most affected,” he commented.

"The livelihoods of 12% of the world's population depend on this sector. In particular, small-scale fisheries are the source of employment for more than 90% of the world's capture fishers and fish workers, about half of whom are women," he said.

"At the same time that small-scale fishers supply most of the fish consumed in the developing world, many of their families are food-insecure themselves. This is a paradox that we are working together to overcome," said the FAO director-general, stressing that small-scale fishers are an integral part of efforts to improve sustainability and food security.

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Comments (1)

Bruce Rubin - 12 Jun 2014 | 05:02

Work With The Environment

After reading the article what is needed, in my opinion, is action not studies in the areas mentioned as problems. First educated those most at risk of losing their source of income what over fishing means in what may not be the long term. Develop and institute methods to clean the water and keep in safe for both the fish and the local populations. If the rivers in Pittsburgh, PA can be fished there is no reason the waters globally cannot be kept clean and safe. There should be programs of "seeding" areas where fish can grow and multiply that are off limits to fishermen. These areas might even be fenced in and when the fish are ready to be caught the fences could be opened. Finally, if there truly is climate change the answer is not, again in my opinion, to reverse which will take a long time but to work with it. If that means bringing new species of fish to areas or other similar practices then do it and stop complaining about an issue no one is going to fix in the near term. There is too much talk and study in many cases and not enough concrete solutions and actions. The people who are paid to bring up issues are great but they need to be able to provide solutions and actions that will reduce if not eliminate the issues they are talking about. Their jobs should be to eliminate their jobs or change their focus and attention to new issues once the ones they are talking about are solved. Monitoring the "solved" issued must be part of any implemented plan. Remember is is action and implementation that will solve problems not studies and discussion.

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