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Aquaculture expected to play greater role in global food security, UN agency says

Aquaculture expected to play greater role in global food security, UN agency says

Aquaculture is expected to boost global fish supplies over the next two decades, further helping to reduce poverty and food insecurity, according to a new publication released today by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The publication, entitled "Aquaculture in the Third Millennium," says aquaculture's contribution towards global fisheries landings continues to grow and dominate all other animal food producing sectors. In 1999, total aquaculture production was about 43 million metric tonnes and valued at $53.6 billion.

Since the FAO Technical Conference on Aquaculture in 1976 in Kyoto, Japan, aquaculture has gone through major changes, ranging from small-scale, homestead-level activities to large-scale commercial farming.

As the sector has advanced, its contribution to aquatic food production has also increased significantly, the UN agency said, with a large proportion of global production now coming from small-scale producers in developing countries and Low Income Food Deficit Countries, known as LIFDCs.

Aquaculture also significantly contributes to food security, poverty alleviation and social well-being in many countries, FAO said. The contributions of aquaculture to both local and international trade have also risen over recent decades, as has its global share of income generation and employment for national economic development.