The Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) new report records global fish consumption at an all time high of over 20 kg per year.
Interestingly, for the first time ever, more farmed fish is being eaten than wild caught fish. This is a significant trend. Although global fish stocks are still being overfished, this move reflects changing global attitudes towards fish consumption. Farmed fish, of course has its own list of negative impacts. But as Manuel Barange the director of the FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Resources explained ‘Fisheries have a much smaller footprint than other main sources of animal protein. Fish is six times more efficient at converting feed than cattle and four times more efficient than pork.’
More importantly, about half of the 74 million tonnes of fish products produced by fisheries and aquaculture are ‘non-feed’ sources. This means that no additional feeding is required. One of the biggest concerns about aquaculture and fisheries is that to grow the fish we want to consume, such as salmon, you have to feed them huge amounts of small fish caught from the wild. Mr Barange explained that the FAO was working with member countries to develop guidelines to ensure that sustainable aquaculture continues to grow and become the norm. He said that many of the industrial acquaculture companies have been moving towards more sustainable practices over the years, although there is still a lot of work to do.
Unfortunately, under the sea wild fish are still struggling even with the large increase of farmed fish being consumed. 90 % of global fish stocks are either being fully fished or overfished. About 12 % of the world’s population rely on the fishing industry for their livelihood, which means the importance of pushing for sustainable fishing, fisheries and aquaculture is essential.
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