The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has urged member countries to manage their fisheries and aqua-culture sectors well to help ensure food security for millions of people.
FAO in a published report at the UN in New York on Monday warned that failure to do so would have serious environmental, economic and social consequences.
The report was entitled “The State of World Fisheries and Aqua-culture 2012”.
“Fisheries and aqua-culture are making a vital contribution to global food security and economic growth.
“However, the sector faces an array of problems, including poor governance, weak fisheries management regimes, conflicts over the use of natural resources, the persistent use of poor fishery and aqua-culture practices.
“It is further undermined by a failure to incorporate the priorities and rights of small-scale fishing communities and the injustices relating to gender discrimination and child labour,” the report quoted the head of FAO Fisheries and Aqua-culture Department, Arni Mathiesen as having said.
The report added that world fisheries and aqua-culture produced a record 128 million tonnes of fish for human food last year – an average of 18.4 kilogrammes per person.
According to the report, the sector is a source of income for 55 million people.
The report, however, noted that the primary threats undermining the food and nutrition security potential of fisheries and aqua-culture result principally from ineffective management coupled with poor conservation of habitats.
It also stated that a transition towards people-centred approaches was required to enhance the sector’s contribution to food and livelihoods security.