With the world population estimated to reach between 7.5 and 10.5 billion by 2050, it comes as no surprise that the world resources are dwindling at a frightening pace, according to the State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture (SOFIA) 2012 annual report.
The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture (SOFIA) 2012, published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in July 2012, paints a rather worrying picture especially in as far as the sector in developing countries goes. According to the report, developing nations continue to account for the bulk of world exports with trade volumes and values having reached new highs in 2011 and expected to carry on rising; hence, making fish and fishery products among the most traded food commodities worldwide.
And while aquaculture is set to remain one of the fastest-growing animal food-producing sectors; estimates show that in the next decade, total production from both capture and aquaculture will exceed that of beef, pork or poultry; FAO warns that it is the poor, especially those in rural areas, who are most vulnerable.
In many areas of sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia for instance, fish consumption levels remain too low and they are failing to benefit from the contributions that fisheries and aquaculture are increasingly making elsewhere in terms of sustainable food security and income. These compounded by poor governance, weak fisheries management regimes, conflicts over the use of natural resources, the persistent use of poor fishery and aquaculture practices, a failure to incorporate the priorities and rights of small-scale fishing communities, and injustices relating to gender discrimination and child labour, pose great threat to food security and economic growth.
Strengthened governance and effective fisheries management are required. The report argues that 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.