Increase Efforts for Responsible Fisheries and Aquaculture in a Green Economy


© A. Mitin

In 2009, capture fisheries and aquaculture production was approximately 145 million tonnes, of which marine capture production was 78.6 million tonnes. Almost 81%, or 118 million tonnes, of world fish production was used for human consumption, providing about 4.2 billion people with more than 15% of their average per capita intake of animal protein. The sectors provided jobs for about 45 million part-time and full-time fishers and fish farmers of whom at least 12% were women. If secondary activities are included, there are approximately 180 million people employed in the entire fish industry, supporting the livelihoods of a total of about 540 million people. In addition to a critical contribution to food security and poverty alleviation, the two sectors also contribute to economic growth and an estimated 39% of total fish production entered into international trade in 2009 with an export value of nearly USD 100 billion. Approximately 50% of the fish in international trade originates from developing countries.

With approximately 1 billion people currently suffering from under-nourishment and the anticipated growth in the world population to 9 billion people by 2050, responsible and sustainable fisheries and aquaculture have an essential role to play in ensuring food security and nutrition for all. This will require simultaneously meeting and overcoming widespread over-fishing which currently threatens the future of capture fisheries in many areas, and encouraging increased fish production through sustainable aquaculture in accordance with an ecosystem approach. This proposal aims to increase awareness at all levels of the critical need to ensure responsible fisheries management and aquaculture development through rapid progress in implementation of the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and its related instruments and approaches. It responds to the calls from the international community to take the actions necessary to restore exploited fish stocks to levels that can produce the maximum sustainable yield, to support the sustainable development of aquaculture and to maintain the productivity and biodiversity of important and vulnerable marine areas, including areas within and beyond national jurisdiction.

Main objectives of the Proposal

1. Promote and raise awareness of the important role, benefits and contribution of fisheries and aquaculture to food security, nutrition and economic development. Connect with other sectors and policy and decision-makers at all levels to ensure that related issues are included on the global agenda and considered in national and international policies and action plans. Advance the benefits of responsible fisheries management and aquaculture development, highlighting the principles of long-term sustainable use and conservation.

2. An all-inclusive application of the Code and its four associated International Plans of Action27 through the ecosystem approach to fisheries (EAF) and to aquaculture (EAA), in support of fisheries and aquaculture operations that are sustainable, promote equity and are resilient to climate change and other external forcing factors.

3. To promote fisheries and aquaculture food production systems and strategies that minimise damage to the aquatic and atmospheric environment, improve energy efficiency and reduce waste throughout the supply chain. Such approaches include awareness raising of GHG mitigation technologies, low impact fuel efficient fish capture techniques and training in resource stewardship.

4. Participatory development and implementation of voluntary guidelines for securing sustainable small scale fisheries to better integrate the sector into national development policies and to enhance the sector’s contribution to food security and poverty alleviation, within a pro-poor, human rights and ecosystem based framework.

5. Promote aquaculture development strategies that ensure human and ecological wellbeing and achieve sustainability through effective governance at relevant scales (e.g. farm, local, regional, and global), also considering the application of main principles underlying the FAO aquaculture certification guidelines.

6. Optimise the value of fisheries and aquaculture products through the development of technologies and practices to reduce post-harvest losses and by improving the utilisation of low value species and, where appropriate, by-catch. Improve the capacity of the fisheries and aquaculture sectors to implement these measures throughout the value chain.

Expected results

Increased efforts and resources from global, regional and national institutions towards achieving the already agreed goals related to fisheries, aquaculture and sustainable use of marine resources and ecosystems included in the Millennium Development Goals, the WSSD Plan of Implementation and other agreements and declarations, leading to greatly enhanced progress towards those ends. Commitment by Leaders in 2012 in Rio: Implementation through FAO, UNGA and regional fisheries bodies by 2013.

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