The world needs to produce another 62 million tonnes of fish and seafood by 2030 if it is to meet rising global demand.
So argues Stephen Hall, director general at WorldFish, in a blog about how initiatives such as Fishing for the Future can help to identify the problem and ensure that remedial measures can be taken.
He wrote: “One example where we are moving in this direction is with our global fish food system.
“Fishing for a Future is an initiative that brings together key stakeholders from government, the private sector, and international and civil society organizations to identify and assess challenges in the fish food system and find solutions that can be pursued through collective action.
“Analyses undertaken through Fishing for a Future indicate that the world’s requirement for fish for direct human consumption in 2030 will be approximately 232 million metric tonnes.
“This global need exceeds the trajectory of today’s production system which would likely produce around 170 million tonnes in 2030.
“To close the 62-million-tonne gap (a 37 per cent deficit relative to what is needed), three pathways are available: reducing waste, improving fisheries and growing aquaculture. Estimates suggest that dedicated efforts to reduce waste and loss along the value system and continued efforts to bring fisheries as close as possible to harvesting at maximum sustainable yield rates could contribute 15 million and eight million metric tonnes, respectively.
“This is not simply a production challenge. These increases have to be done in ways that ensure fish is affordable and available for all and that the economic and nutritional benefits from the sector are equitably distributed. They must also be done in ways that sustain, and where needed, improve ocean health.
“I believe global action networks, such as Fishing for a Future, are the right vehicles to develop a set of solutions that could help achieve these objectives. Areas for collective action will be discussed in various key global meetings over the coming months, including the upcoming World Economic Forum Summit on the Global Agenda 2015 in Abu Dhabi, as part of the Oceans Council deliberations.
“The adoption of an oceans SDG will certainly add the momentum needed to ensure profitable, well-governed and sustainable fisheries that delivers social and economic benefits to society and, above all, ensures a continuing supply of fish.”