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Nov 27, 2009

Fish farming seen driving food security

Photo: Aqualine, Normway
EurActiv reports on 27 November 2009 that the EU has pledged to "increase the competitiveness of European aquafarming to meet a growing appetite for seafood, but policymakers stress that this must go hand-in-hand with farming to restore fish stocks."

As background, the article provides information on the state of global fisheries.  It emphasizes that Europe's demand for seafood has been met by the international trade in fish noting that "[u]p to 60% of the total value of the world catch comes from developing-country waters, meaning products of a high commercial value, such as frozen shrimps and tuna, are exported to developed countries." These fish exports valuable foreign exchange and "the UN fears that diverting fish and fish products away from local communities and developing regions may be depriving needy people of a 'traditionally cheap but highly nutritious food'."

The EU Commission "acknowledges that while EU support for the fisheries sector in developing countries has contributed to the industry's development, this aid has not had a significant impact on fighting poverty and achieving the UN's Millennium Development Goals of reducing poverty and hunger."

Therefore the EU executive is planning a review of its Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) to take better account of third countries' food security strategies. It will look at how aquaculture can satisfy the growing demand for seafood and contribute to food security. It will also look into the EU's Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) to subsidise the fisheries industry.  The European Commission has issued an April 2009 Green Paper on the topic.  It looks to present legislative proposals to member states by 2012 with the goal of implementing changes by 2013.

The EU's position is geared towards encouraging the growth of aquaculture.  This industry has stagnated within the EU since 2000 with most growth coming from Asia and South America.  European demand growing and 60% of it has been met by imports. 

The article also notes that "[w]hile the impact of climate change on aquatic ecosystems, fisheries and aquaculture is still not fully understood, floods and droughts are expected to affect harvests. ... [however] climate change is already having an impact on Europe's seas by affecting the abundance and distribution of fish stocks.  ... the new CFP can help to facilitate climate change adaptation efforts in the marine environment."

Photo credit: Aqua-farming, Aqualine, Normway.

For more see: "Fish farming seen driving food security." EurActiv.com. 27 Nov. 2009.

About Margaret

CEO and Curator (The Food Museum) | Managing Director and Chief Editor (GR2 Global LLC) | Educator (UCLA PhD) | Researching and writing on global food issues, nutrition and health, sustainability, history (preservation), conservation (natural resources), and design.
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