New FAO report: more people eating fish but stocks continue to decline

31/01/2011

In the new report the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) paints another bleak picture of the state of our global fisheries. Fish consumption in the world has reached an all-time high and more people than ever are employed in or depend on the fisheries sector but global fish stocks have not improved.

The study “State of the World’s Fisheries and Aquaculture” indicates that “the contribution of fish to global diets has reached a record of almost 17 kilograms per person on average, supplying over three billion people with at least 15 per cent of their average animal protein intake”.

The overall percentage of overexploited, depleted or recovering fish stocks in the world's oceans has not dropped and is estimated to be slightly higher than in 2006. About 32 percent of world fish stocks are estimated to be overexploited, depleted or recovering and need to be urgently rebuilt, says the FAO report.

As the fourth largest producer of fish and aquaculture products , the European Union should turn the trend of overfishing around and lead by example. Allowing European vessels to run down one fishery after the other in Europe and elsewhere in the world is a sign of short-sighted, irresponsible management. Europe’s Fisheries Policy is in need of ambitious reform to avert disaster and save fish for generations to come,” said Louize Hill, Head of European Marine and Fisheries Policy at WWF’s European Policy Office.

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