Ocean management is ‘crucial’ to food security: FAO


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Ocean management is ‘crucial’ to food security: FAO

Related tags Food security Food and agriculture organization Fish

Demand for fish and seafood is growing – but better ocean management is needed to ensure global food security, according to a new report from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

Speaking at a roundtable discussion with US Secretary of State John Kerry, FAO director-general José Graziano da Silva said addressing seafood sustainability was crucial to the wider issue of food security, as fish accounts for 16.7% of global animal protein intake. FAO figures show that average per capita fish consumption has increased from 9.9 kg in the 1960s to 19.2 kg in 2012.

“We have the know-how, we have the opportunity. Now is the time to act,"​ said da Silva.

His comments came as the FAO announced several measures to tackle illegal fishing and to promote sustainable practices, including a new ‘Blue Growth’ initiative. The programme is based on the idea that healthy ocean ecosystems are more productive and form the only basis for sustainable fishing.

Secretary Kerry said: "We need to do a better job of protecting our ocean’s fish stocks, which play a critical role in economic security for millions of family and in food security for millions more."

In addition to ensuring food security, the FAO estimates that 10% of the world’s population depends on fishing for their livelihoods.

The Blue Growth programme is intended to crack down on illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing – estimated to cost $20bn a year – promote restoration of coastal ecosystems, and promote responsible fish farming.

In a separate meeting last week, da Silva said that zero hunger was no longer a dream, in the wake of the FAO’s recent report that global hunger was falling​, by over 100m people over the past decade.

“Food security might not always be our first concern, but it should be,"​ he said, adding that ending hunger, malnutrition and food insecurity “should not remain a dream. It is a vision that is within our reach.”

FAO’s report The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture​ can be downloaded here​.

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