FAO Releases State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2010

31 January 2011: The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) has released "State of the World's Fisheries and Aquaculture," which stresses that the contribution of fish to global diets has increased and that the status of global fish stocks has not improved.

The report highlights that approximately 32% of the world's fish stocks are estimated to be over-exploited, depleted or recovering, while only 15% of the FAO-monitored stocks are under-exploited or moderately exploited. The report underscores the growing importance of aquaculture for meeting global fish demand and praises the improving management of aquaculture in Southeast Asia. In addition to marine fisheries, the report highlights the importance of inland fisheries and the particular challenges facing these systems from hydroelectric schemes and irrigation. It describes efforts to control illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing through trade measures and global records of fishing vessels.

The report includes a section on "climate change implications for fisheries and aquaculture," which details: current scientific knowledge; the ecological and physical impacts of climate change; fishers and their communities; and aquaculture. The report also lists the major issues concerning international trade in fishery products in the past biennium, and which continue to affect international trade, including: the introduction of private standards, including for environmental and social purposes, and their endorsement by major retailers; the growing concern of the general public and the retail sector about over-exploitation of certain fish stocks, in particular of bluefin tuna; climate change, carbon emissions and their impacts on the fisheries sector; and energy prices and the impact on fisheries. It further outlines the various challenges ahead in terms of, inter alia: continuing trade globalization; heightened awareness for biodiversity protection; greater demand for public health and environmental protection; and the impacts of climate change.

The release of the report coincides with the opening of the 29th Session of the Committee on Fisheries (COFI) of the FAO at FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy. [FAO Press Release] [State of the World's Fisheries and Aquaculture] [IISD RS Coverage of COFI]