The fisheries and aquaculture sectors face a number of challenges. Many fisheries are overfished and overcapitalised, and they suffer from low returns and limited prospects. Aquaculture has grown tremendously, but future growth is threatened by the environmental impacts of production, its dependence on wild fish as feedstock, and competition for space where it operates. As the publication “Green Growth in Fisheries and Acquacultuture”, published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), states, securing a future with fish and fishing is a necessary part of feeding a growing population and providing inclusive economic opportunities for those who need it most. But the sector will have to embrace reform towards a path to greener growth and long-term sustainability.
According to the report, better management of global fisheries could lead to an excess of 50 billion US dollars per year in extra profits for fishers, and 13 per cent more fish for consumers. Aquaculture could grow by more than a third over the next ten years if barriers to growth were removed. The report emphasises the need for a strong, science-based approach to stock management for resource sustainability, combined with a transparent and reactive policy development cycle to ensure that fisheries deliver maximum possible benefits. It also shows that improved regulation to deal with environmental externalities and space competition is key to unlocking future growth potential of aquaculture.