Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Aquaculture to Feed World by Marvyn N. Benaning

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has affirmed the central role of aquaculture as the world’s main source of animal protein, predicting that it would provide more than half of the global fish consumption this year.

FAO thus provides the scientific basis for strengthening marine and marine aquaculture rather than capture fisheries, as what Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala has been advocating.
In its latest global report, FAO noted that aquaculture has beaten other industries since it has become the world’s fastest-growing source of animal protein as commercial fisheries retreat on account of diminishing fish populations in the open seas.

Earlier, Dr. Joebert D. Toledo, chief of the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center-Aquaculture Department (SEAFDEC-AQD), said aquaculture is moving to be the main source of food fish in the Philippines, with more mariculture parks being established to ease the pressure on 13 key fishing grounds in the archipelago.

FAO said that global fish production from aquaculture grew more than 60 percent between 2000 and 2008, with yield rising from 32.4 million metric tons (MMT) to 52.5 MMT.
This year, FAO projected that aquaculture would account for more than 50 percent of the world’s food fish consumption.

“With stagnating global capture fishery production and an increasing population, aquaculture is perceived as having the greatest potential to produce more fish in the future to meet the growing demand for safe and quality aquatic food,” the report revealed.

FAO noted that as output and value from aquaculture rises, it will help reduce poverty and improve food security in many countries in spite of the fact that it has not developed evenly around the world.
The Asia-Pacific region dominates aquaculture, accounting for 89.1 percent of output in 2008, with China as the biggest with 62.3 percent.

FAO noted that of the 15 leading aquaculture-producing countries, 11 are in the Asia-Pacific region.

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