All Posts (21)

A new research published by the World Resources Institute (WRI) shows that farmed fish and shellfish production will likely need to increase by 133 percent between 2010 and 2050 in order to meet projected fish demand worldwide. The study finds that although aquaculture’s environmental impacts are likely to rise as production grows, there are a variety of actions producers can take to minimize impacts and encourage sustainable growth of the aquaculture industry.

The findings are published by the World Resources Institute (WRI), WorldFish, the World Bank, INRA, and Kasetsart University in a new paper called Improving Productivity and Environmental Performance of Aquaculture. This paper is the latest installment of the 2013–2014 World Resources Report: Creating a Sustainable Food Future.

Source : WRI

The report highlights five approaches to grow aquaculture production sustainably and explores strategies to sustainably feed 9 billion people by 2050.

The five strategies discussed are:


  • Invest in technological innovation and transfer, specifically breeding and hatchery technology, disease control, feeds and nutrition, and development of low-impact production systems;
  • Use spatial planning and zoning to reduce cumulative impacts of many farms and ensure that aquaculture stays within the surrounding ecosystem’s carrying capacity;
  • Shift incentives to reward sustainability;
  • Leverage the latest information technology, including satellite and mapping technology, ecological modeling, open data, and connectivity so that global-level monitoring and planning systems support sustainable forms of aquaculture development; and
  • Shift fish consumption toward fish that are low on the food chain—“low-trophic” species such as tilapia, catfish, carp, and bivalve mollusks.


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The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture

A new FAO report published last week suggests that more people than ever rely on fisheries and aquaculture for food and as a source of income, but harmful practices and poor management threaten the sector’s sustainability. This new edition of The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture also highlights the significant role that fisheries and aquaculture plays in eliminating hunger, promoting health and reducing poverty. 

According to the report global fisheries and aquaculture production totalled 158 million tonnes in 2012 - around 10 million tonnes more than 2010.
The rapid expansion of aquaculture, including the activities of small-scale farmers, is driving this growth in production. Fish farming holds tremendous promise in responding to surging demand for food, which is taking place due to global population growth, At the same time, the planet's oceans – if sustainably managed – have an important role to play in providing jobs and feeding the world.

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A recent article by Essam Yassin Mohammed published on International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development discusses the reasons behind deterioration of global fisheries and the importance of managing marine and coastal resources across the globe. The article also discusses the debate on the post-2015 development agenda and how it should ideally result in a coherent and coordinated approach, to move towards a more desired state in fisheries worldwide.

The article examines in detail seven potential targets that were offered in the “focus areas” document released by the co-chairs of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals (OWG) prior to the UN body’s 11th meeting in early May. One of the focus areas (focus area 13) calls up on states to “take urgent and significant actions for the conservation and sustainable use of marine resources, oceans and seas.”

The potential targets include:

  • Prevent, control and reduce by x% marine pollution and marine disposal of waste and tailings, including from land-based activities.
  • Restore and protect marine ecosystems from destruction, including by halting and preventing ocean acidification.
  • Regulate harvesting to restore fish stocks to ecologically safe levels that can produce maximum sustainable yield, and support sustainable small-scale fisheries.
  • Develop and ensure the full implementation of existing regional and international regimes governing oceans and seas, including for resources in areas beyond national jurisdictions.
  • Eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and destructive fishing practices.
  • Establish Marine Protected Areas, consistent with international law.
  • Eliminate fishing subsidies which contribute to overcapacity and overfishing.


To read the full article and analysis of these targets please visit:


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Africa is a continent rich in natural resources and some of these resources, such as oil and minerals have led to rapid economic growth in the region in the last decade. However, despite economic growth, wellbeing of people still remains a concern. The economic growth has not reduced poverty and hunger or improved people’s welfare as much as it should have. In order to do so, Africa needs sustainable economic growth and economic transformation that invests Africa’s other resources; its widespread fisheries, forests and agriculture.

A new report published by the African Progress Panel in May. 2014 suggests that the natural resources in Africa offer a unique opportunity in decreasing inequality and improving the lives of African citizens. The African government bears the primary responsibility for fostering growth that reduces poverty. However the international community has a vital role to play too. Multilateral guidelines are immediately required to battle tax evasion and the theft of natural resources that is depriving countries of the assets needed for development.

Recently illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing has become increasingly prevalent in Africa's coastal waters. West Africa is estimated to lose $1.3 billion annually. This theft of natural resources also costs the region critical jobs and undermines food and nutrition security. Furthermore another $17 billion is lost through illicit logging. Mr. Kofi Annan, chair of the panel said “natural resource plunder is organized theft disguised as commerce. Commercial trawlers that operate under flags of convenience, and unload in ports that do not record their catch, are unethical.” He also added that these criminal activities further complex the problem of tax evasion and shell companies.

According to the report “Africa’s leaders have an unprecedented opportunity to convert the continent’s great wealth into permanent improvements in Africans’ lives. Agriculture and fisheries lie at the heart of this new dawn.”

The report calls for a multilateral fisheries regime that applies sanctions to fishing vessels that do not register and report their catches. The report also calls on governments around to world to sanction the Port State Measures Agreement, an agreement that seeks to stop the poachers in port from unloading their ill-gotten gains.

 The report comprises of five sections that describe how African governments and their international partners can cooperate to remove  obstacles – and allow all Africans to benefit from their continent’s extraordinary wealth.

Download the full report here:  Fish Grain Money

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Backgrounder: Sustainable fisheries certification

Increasingly, certification schemes are playing a significant role in asserting sustainable fisheries. In developing countries, for instance, the number of certified fisheries has gone up from five in 2009 to 15 in 2013. But as this backgrounder from IIED shows, there should be potential for much more: "the time is ripe to produce definitive evidence of how relevant, effective, efficient and equitable certification can maximise fishing's contribution to sustainable development. This information would help both fisheries' sustainability and provide lessons for certification in other sectors."

Download a PDF.

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In a recent publication, Greenpeace looks into the future of the EU's Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

Within the document, the authors have considered various expected courses of action and found that the reformed regulations, while suggesting significant progress for sustainable fisheries, are hindered by "deliberate ambiguities and weaknesses in some parts of the text." In addition, they also highlight four specific problems including the lack of: deadlines, procedural clarity, timelines of recovery and an appreciation of the how difficult decision making can be across regions.

The report then calls on the governments of the EU to work with the European Parliament to form and implement new, multi-annual plans as soon as possible - only then, even if they comply with their obligations under the new CFP, will governments be able to end overfishing. 

Download a PDF.

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In developing countries, there is lots of competition for the right to access and use natural resources. As such, we need to focus on governance to make sure that any decisions are equitable while also helping to lift communities out of poverty - and this is especially so for fisheries.

Research from CGIAR does just that; it provides a framework for analysing governance in the context of aquatic agricultural system, using three dimensions including stakeholder representation, distribution of power and the mechanisms of accountability. And, by focusing on Cambodia, Bangladesh, Malawi/Mozambique and the Soloman Islands as case studies, the authors find opportunities for transforming the institutions that constrain resilience in local livelihoods. 

Download a pdf.

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Climate change, rising temperatures and less fish

A report published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2013 confirmed that global temperatures and sea levels are set to rise further - the impact of which is still uncertain. But a recent Australian-led research project has found that climate change trends could lead to a swift decline in fish living near the equator.

The research, which was led by Dr Jodie Rummer of James Cook University, found that fish will move to cooler areas of the Earth to survive for even just a 3°C change would kill off at least one species. In addition, fish may lose their ability to evade predators, find food and breed. "This will have a substantial impact on the human societies that depend on these fish," says Runner, adding, ""this is particularly urgent when considering food security for human communities."

Download a copy of the research, entitled, Life on the edge: thermal optima for aerobic scope of equatorial reef fishes are close to current day temperatures.

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The Fish Site: Sustainable Aquaculture Digital

A digital magazine from the Fish Site that focuses on key aquaculture issues and events. Look out for the articles entitled: "the global salmon initiative: working together for a more sustainable salmon industry" (page 10); and "sustainability by committee: the rise of multi-stakeholder initiatives" (page 20).

Read the magazine.

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FishNet was created by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) as part of its work on the economics of marine and coastal fisheries.