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Building a sustainable global fishing industry through finance and standards
By: Dr. Margaret M. Zeigler
Executive Director, Global Harvest Initiative
Credit: Sylyvann Borei/WorldFish
Fish are an essential source of food, nutrition and income for hundreds of millions of people and increasing the sustainable production of fish is essential to meeting food demands of 9.7 billion people in 2050. Global annual per capita fish consumption has doubled from 9.9 kg per person in the 1960s to 20 kg per person in 2014 (United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, 2016).
The majority of global fish production comes from “captured” or wild-caught fish, especially in low-income and middle-income countries.
Improved practices in fish husbandry are increasing the productivity of fisheries and helping fishers adapt to climate change. To meet the growing demand in a way that protects the natural resource base, additional investments in aquaculture technologies and best practices are required. Consumer demand for sustainably sourced fish will be a critical market force driving a shift towards best practices.
One example of productivity and sustainability can be seen in the case of the Chilean salmon industry.
As the world’s second largest producer, the salmon industry is important to the Chilean economy and supports more than 70,000 jobs. Yet this growth, combined with inefficient practices, threatened to impact the biodiversity of the fishing areas in the Patagonia region and led to social tensions between salmon producers and local inhabitants.
To address these issues, WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature, formerly the World Wildlife Fund) and the Dutch multinational financial services company Rabobank launched a strategic partnership in 2011 to reduce negative environmental and social impacts of salmon farming in Chile’s Patagonia region. A key goal is to demonstrate that sustainable production along with biodiversity conservation can generate attractive financial results.
Through the partnership, Rabobank’s customers in Chile’s fishing industry are adopting sustainable practices and
creating long-term successful business models. At the center of the approach is the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) standard certification and consumer labeling program for responsibly farmed seafood. Consumers can vote with their wallets by purchasing seafood products with the ASC label, which rewards best practices in the industry and gives consumers confidence about sustainability claims.
To read more about how productivity in agriculture and aquaculture (page 54) can sustainably meet the needs of 2050, see the 2016 Global Agricultural Productivity Report® (GAP Report®) that describes how policy, innovation and practices are changing to build a better world.