Monday, 06 January 2020 14:16

Italy: International symposium explores ways to increase sustainability of fisheries

Image credit: FAO/Pier Paolo CitoThe world needs a new vision for fisheries in the 21st century, said Qu Dongyu, FAO Director General in his speech at the opening of the International Symposium on Fisheries Sustainability. The projected increase in global population to 10bn by 2050 will call for greater aquatic food production, he said, but without jeopardising the health of oceans and rivers, and while improving the social conditions of those dependent on fisheries, who are often the poorest in society. Although millions depend on fisheries for food and livelihoods the state of the world’s oceans is one of grave concern from the impacts of plastic pollution, climate change, overfishing and habitat degradation. Globally over one in ten people depend on fisheries to make a living and to feed their families, while one in three marine fish stocks is overfished.

These challenges are not evenly distributed, however. In developed parts of the world stocks are being rebuilt, fisheries are becoming more sustainable and the conditions of those employed in the sector are improving, but progress in developing regions is slower. We need to reverse this trend if we are to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, urged Dr Qu, as he proposed solutions to make fisheries more sustainable. These include greater investments in marine and freshwater sustainability programmes such as the Blue Growth Initiative which unites economic, social, and environmental sustainability, and adequate protective measures combined with effective management of the world’s fisheries.