The growing demand for fish and other seafood is rapidly changing the fisheries and aquaculture sector. Consumption is expected to increase, mainly driven by the rapid increase in population. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) presented the latest report on the fisheries sector at the Lisbon Oceans Conference and outlined a relatively optimistic scenario.
Manuel Barange, director of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Division of the FAOhighlights: “The larger fish reserves are better managed and have improved their sustainability in a very evident way in the last decade, while the smaller reserves in more isolated places, perhaps without management systems, are deteriorating. Thus that we have to make sure that 100% of the fish stocks in the lakes, rivers and oceans are managed, because we know that management works. But this is a huge request.”
This is more difficult to achieve in less wealthy countries where fishing is on a smaller scale. Margaret Nakato of Katosi Women Development Trust Uganda, says: “Any sustainability program must take into account and place small-scale fishing communities at the center of preservation. And it has to take into account the social, cultural and economic components of these fishing communities so that the measures we adopt are effective, but also so that we can equitably share the benefits of conserving these resources”.
The UN considers that the growth of fishing and aquaculture is vital to ending hunger and malnutrition in the world, but greater regulation and transformation of the sector is necessary so that the resources of the oceans are not depleted.