Fisheries and aquaculture production makes critical contribution to global food security – FAO
By Hauwa Ali
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) says the growth of
aquaculture, has lifted total production of fisheries and aquaculture to an all-time
high of 214 million tonnes in 2020, making it an increasingly critical contribution to
food security and nutrition in the 21st century.
This was contained in its 2022 edition of “The State of World Fisheries and
Aquaculture (SOFIA)” released on 29 June.
FAO says the growth of aquaculture, particularly in Asia, lifted total production of
fisheries and aquaculture to a high record, comprising 178 million tonnes of aquatic
animals and 36 million tonnes of algae.
According to the report, Production of aquatic animals in 2020 was 30 percent
higher than the average in the 2000s and more than 60 percent above the average
in the 1990s and record of aquaculture output of 87.5 million tonnes of aquatic
animals largely drove these outcomes.
As the sector continues to expand, FAO says more targeted transformative changes
are needed to achieve a more sustainable, inclusive and equitable fisheries and
“A ‘Blue Transformation’ in how we produce, manage, trade and consume aquatic
foods, is crucial if we are to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
‘’The growth of fisheries and aquaculture is vital in our efforts to end global hunger
and malnutrition but further transformation is needed in the sector to address the
challenges,’’ says FAO Director General, QU Dongyu.
‘’We must transform agrifood systems to ensure aquatic foods are sustainably
harvested, livelihoods are safeguarded and aquatic habitats and biodiversity are
protected.’’ He added.
Aquatic foods are contributing more than ever before to food security and
Aquaculture has grown faster than capture fisheries in the last two years and is
expected to expand further over the next decade.
The reduction in capture fisheries production was mainly driven by the Covid-19
pandemic, which severely disrupted fishing activities, market access and sales.
Growing demand for fish and other aquatic foods is rapidly changing the
aquaculture sector. Consumption is expected to increase by 15 percent to supply
on average 21.4 kg per capita in 2030, driven mostly by rising incomes and
urbanisation, changes in post-harvest practices and distribution, as well as in
dietary trends focusing on better health and nutrition.
Total production of aquatic animals is expected to reach 202 million tonnes in
2030, mainly due to the continuing growth of aquaculture, projected to reach 100
million tonnes for the first time in 2027 and 106 million tonnes in 2030.
According to FAO, more needs to be done to feed the world’s growing population
while enhancing the sustainability of stocks and fragile ecosystems and protecting
lives and livelihoods in the long-term.
SOFIA 2022, states that the sustainability of marine fishery resources remains of
significant concern, with the percentage of sustainably fished stocks falling to 64.6
percent in 2019, a 1.2 percent decline from 2017.
Aquaculture is becoming a key cornerstone of global food security
FAO Is seeking to promote Blue Transformation, a visionary strategy to meet the
twin challenges of food security and environmental sustainability while ensuring
equitable outcomes and gender equality.
Climate and environment-friendly policy and practices, as well as technological
innovation, are also vital for change.
‘’Blue Transformation is an objective-driven process through which FAO Members
and partners can maximise the contribution of aquatic food systems to enhance
food security, nutrition and affordable healthy diets, while remaining within
ecological boundaries,’’ says Manuel Barange, director of FAO’s Fisheries and
Fisheries and aquaculture also contribute to employment, trade and economic
According to FAO, an estimated 58.5 million people were employed in the fisheries
and aquaculture sector and of these approximately 21 percent were women