Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Primary production: Aquaculture and fisheries

Fish and seafood constitute an important part of diets around the world and are a key source of protein and essential fatty acids (such as omega 3). Over the past 50 years however, overfishing and destructive fishing techniques have caused dramatic reductions in wild fish stocks. Around 85% of fisheries are now fully exploited or overfished, and many of the ecosystems associated with fishing activities have been severely damaged. With growing populations and increasing per capita protein demand, producing sufficient fish to fulfil demand has prompted a focus on aquaculture: the farming of fish and seafood. Aquaculture is the most rapidly expanding subsector of the animal production sector and it now exceeds capture fisheries as an aquatic food source. While there is significant potential for aquaculture to reduce some of the pressures on wild fish stocks, the sector also generates its own environmental problems. The farmed aquatic sector is however hugely diverse – from modern closed recirculating systems through to traditional integrated ones (involving production of both fish, livestock and agriculture) – making it difficult to generalise.

9 October 2015

This paper by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF) suggests that as much as 47 percent of the edible U.S. seafood supply is lost each year.  The paper shows that the majority of the waste is produced mainly at the consumer stage. The waste issue adds another layer of pressure on fish stocks and the global seafood supply that are already seriously threatened by overfishing, climate change, pollution, habitat destruction and the use of fish for other purposes besides human consumption.

12 June 2015

This article reports that a new fish and animal feedstock product which uses methane gas may be released into the European feedstock markets from the beginning of 2018. The product, FeedKind, is currently in pre-production phase and it is described that the manufacturing process is very similar to the way in which Marmite and other yeast-extract sandwich spreads are produced.

20 May 2015

In this article in Science, researchers warn that imported fish sold in European and North American shops may be less sustainably caught than claims suggest. The experts argue that projects aimed at stimulating sustainable fishing in developing countries often don’t deliver on their goals and therefore, in order to prevent that the MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) quality label for sustainable fish is undermined,  requirements for market access need to be more rigorous.  

23 October 2014

A study on the impact of climate change on fish stocks by scientists from the UN Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) has identified ocean hotspots for fish extinction and a link between rising temperatures and fish movement.

5 September 2014

A recent issue of The Global Food Security (GFS) programme’s Insight series, which intends to provide a “balanced analysis of food related research for use by policy-makers and practitioners”, explores aquatic farming in the UK. 

22 July 2014

This twentieth edition of the Agricultural Outlook, and the tenth prepared jointly between OECD and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), provides market projections to 2023 for major agricultural commodities, biofuels and fish across 41 countries and 12 regions: OECD member countries (European Union as a region), key non-OECD agricultural producers (such as India, China, Brazil, Russian Federation and Argentina) and groups of smaller non-OECD economies in a more aggregated form. This edition includes a special focus on India.

27 March 2014

This article published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences discuss the issue of bycatch – non target animals that are accidentally caught or entangled in fishing gear. 

14 February 2014

A new joint report by World Bank, FAO and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) entitled "Fish to 2030: Prospects for Fisheries and Aquaculture” looks at prospects for fisheries and aquaculture and suggests that aquaculture will provide close to two thirds of global food fish consumption by 2030. It highlights the continuing role of  China as a major driver of aquaculture demand, and charts the decline in the relative importance of capture fisheries.

6 February 2014

In this briefing paper by IIED, Essam Yassin Mohammed argues that sustainable fisheries must be central to the new global development goals (SDGs) of 2015. This could either be realised by providing goals and targets for the fisheries themselves in the agenda — or by making them part of a broader set of goals that focus on food security and livelihoods.

10 January 2014

This 8 minute video from NERC (Natural Environment Research Council) features Kenny Black and Jo Gosling of the Scottish Association for Marine Science who discuss how fish farming might be made more sustainable.

21 October 2013

Aquaculture is an issue that rarely attracts the attention it deserves.  These short filmed interviews made by the  International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI feature researchers and practitioners in livestock and fish ‘value chains’ in Uganda who came together during a conference on AgriFood Chain Toolkit Conference-Livestock and Fish Value Chains in East Africa, in September Sep 2013.

24 July 2013

SEAT, the Sustaining Ethical Aquaculture Trade project have highlighted some key ‘myths’ around aquaculture on their website and sought to provide some clarity on the reality of the situation.

24 July 2013

This paper finds that many of stocks in the northeast Atlantic are being fished sustainably today and that, given time, those populations should continue to recover. This is particularly positive news as there has long been widespread criticism that the European Union's Common Fisheries Policy is failing.

6 February 2013

A study published in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science reviews the Database on Raising Intelligence to find interventions that increased children’s intelligence. One such intervention involved supplementing infants with long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, and the study concludes that this does indeed have a positive impact on children’s IQ. 

7 January 2013

A new book entitled “Principles of Sustainable Aquaculture: Promoting Social, Economic and Environmental Resilience” by Stuart W. Bunting of the Centre for Environment and Society at the University of Essex serves as an advanced level textbook focusing on developing more sustainable aquaculture practices. 

19 November 2012

This interesting blog on the Planet Earth Online website reports on a study from the University of Salford which conducted blind tastings for a range of fish species.  Only 15% of British tasters were able to identify cod – even though this is apparently our favourite fish, and we are generally very reluctant to try anything else. 

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