The United Nations (UN) has warned about the impending risk of fish consumption which is at an all-time high. According to the UN, a third of the world’s oceans are overfished and has raised fears over the sustainability of an important source of protein for millions around the world.
A report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN noted the negative impact of excessive fishing particularly in parts of the world where people are already struggling with problems of nutrition.
“There’s too much pressure on marine resources and we need significantly more commitments from governments to improve the state of their fisheries,” said Manuel Barange, director of the FAO fisheries and aquaculture department.
“We predict that Africa will have to import fish in the future,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation, adding that shortages could lead to higher prices, disproportionately affecting the poor
As catches from the open sea continue to dwindle, more countries are turning to fish farms
Barange said Africa had great potential for aquaculture but needed support in terms of finance, feed and supply of fish.
Globally, the percentage of stocks fished at unsustainable levels increased to 33.1 in 2015, from 31.4 in 2013 and 10 in 1974.
Fish consumption reached an all-time high of 20.2 kg (44.5 lb) per person from 9 kg in 1961, said the report and further rises are expected as health-conscious consumers turn to fish.
Currently, 3.2 billion people rely on fish for almost 20 per cent of their animal protein intake.
Shakuntala Thilsted, research programme leader at international nonprofit WorldFish, said reducing losses and waste would go a long way towards making fisheries sustainable, with an estimated 35 per cent of catches thrown away.