By James, Michael Igiri
The UN has reported that a third of the world’s oceans are overfished and fish consumption is at on
all-time high, raising fears over the sustainability of a key source of protein for millions around the
According to a report released, Monday, by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), overfishing
is particularly bad in parts of the developing world where many people already struggle to get
enough nutritious food to eat.
The report says, there’s too much pressure on marine resources and there needs to be a more
significant commitment from governments to improve the state of the fisheries industry.
It will be recalled, a UN news report titled, Combating Illegal Fishing, Hunger Key FAO Goals,
published on 4th May, 2017 had stated that UN conference on oceans should see countries
committing to fight illegal and unregulated fishing.
At that time, the agency’s Assistant Director-General, Maria Helena Senedo, said it was important to
remember that millions of people depended on the oceans for their livelihood, which meant marine
resources should be sustainably managed.
The Director of FAO, Manuel Barange predicts that Africa might have to import fish in the future. He
further told the media that shortages could lead to higher prices, disproportionately affecting the
poor. He however added that Africa, however, had a great potential for aquaculture, but needed
support in terms of finance, feed and supply of fish.
According to the UN report, Fish farming or aquaculture- the fastest growing agricultural sector for
the past 40 years- has been largely responsible for making more fish available, as catches from the
open sea continue to dwindle, more countries are turning to fish farms.
Traditional fishing nations are also promoting the potential of fisheries to improve nutrition and
hunger. Globally, the percentage of stocks fished at unsustainable levels increased to 33.1 in 2015,
from 31.4 in 2013 and 10 in 1974.
Furthermore, Fish consumption reached an all-time high 20.2kg (44.5lb) per person from 9kg in
1961; and further rises are expected as health-conscious consumers turn to fish.