WWF report: Improving fishing management imperative for global food security
By 2050, millions of people in the global South (in developing countries) may no longer be able to afford to buy fish; instead if eating the fish they catch, they would have to export it. On 11 January 2017, the WWF published this prediction in a report about global fish supply in the future.
“When we approach it properly, we will have more fish in both the ocean and the nets in 35 years. However, caught fish will most likely not end up where people need it to survive,” said co-author Karoline Schacht, a fishery expert at WWF Germany. “Although we have more wild fish at our disposal, fewer people will benefit from it in the future. We must distribute our fish more fairly.”
For the WWF-commissioned study, scientists from the University of Kiel analysed how much fish could be caught sustainably in 2050, and calculated for the first time whether this amount would be sufficient for everyone. “Fish consumption in the global North has an increasingly significant impact on the living conditions of people in developing countries, who heavily depend on fish,” said Schacht. For the supply of fish to the world market, developing countries play an increasingly important role. Around 61 percent of global fish exports are from countries in the global South. At the same time, the dependence on fish as a food and protein source is much higher in these countries than in Europe.
Better fisheries management can increase fish catch by 37 million tonnes
The scientists predict that the growing global demand for fish can only be met if global fisheries management is significantly improved, the impact on the marine environment is reduced, and the protection of biodiversity and marine habitats is ensured. Total worldwide catches yearly can then be increased to 137 million tonnes under these conditions. However, this volume has been stagnant at around 100 million tonnes for decades. “A prerequisite for sustainably increasing catch volumes is a holistic view of the marine ecosystem, as well as improved and strictly enforced fisheries management aiming for healthy fish stocks," said Schacht. Otherwise, future fish stocks would drop drastically even if current fisheries management deteriorated only marginally.
“The world's population is growing and so will the demand for fish. To end up with less fish to catch would be a catastrophe for those 800 million people who depend on fish as a crucial source of food and income,” warned Schacht. With the United Nation's goal of ending hunger in the world by 2030, the WWF calls on decision-makers to address the question of fisheries more clearly in their action plans for implementing sustainable development targets and ensuring a fair and equitable distribution of fish stocks.
The state of fish stocks in Europe should also be drastically improved so as to reduce the import dependency of the European market. Currently, Europe imports almost one-fifth of the world's fish.
More information: www.wwf.de
See also: www.wwf.de/../WWF-Report_Fishing_for_Proteins_English_Version.pdf