Aquaculture only way to meet future demand for fish – UN agency
The farming of fish under controlled conditions is the only way to meet future global demand, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said today, estimating that rising population numbers mean that by 2030 an additional 37 million tons of fish will be needed to maintain current levels of consumption.
According to FAO, some 45 per cent of all fish consumed today – 48 millions tons in all – is raised on farms. The addition of two billion people to the global population by 2030 will mean farming will have to produce nearly double that, or 85 million tons of fish per year, just to keep up with demand.
Addressing a meeting in Rome focused on fisheries and sustainable development, FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf stressed that while the development of fish farming, also known as aquaculture, should be a priority, it must be promoted in a responsible fashion.
He cautioned that good policy decisions regarding the use of natural resources like water, land, seed and feed as well as sound environmental management will be necessary to sustain and enhance aquaculture’s growth.
“A rapid development of aquaculture therefore requires better planning and better management of the sector in order to mitigate the adverse consequences on the environment,” he stated.
A paper presented by FAO at the meeting also noted that not only does aquaculture help reduce hunger and malnutrition by providing food rich in protein, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals, it also significantly improves food security by creating jobs and raising incomes. For example, fish farming in Asia directly employs some 12 million people.
“Aquaculture has clear potential for economic and social development in many countries,” noted Mr. Diouf.
In another development, FAO announced that Andorra and Montenegro have joined the agency as members, and the Faroe Islands as an associate member, bringing the total number of members in the agency to 192.
They were admitted on Saturday during the opening of the 34th session of the FAO biennial governing conference at the agency’s headquarters in Rome.