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A new report out today from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said that almost a third of commercial fish stocks are now overharvested at biologically unsustainable levels although the growth in aquaculture has helped drive global per capita fish consumption above 20 kilograms a year for the first time.

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The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture report attributes stronger aquaculture supply and demand, record breaking hauls for some main species and reduced wastage as some of the reasons for the increased consumption. But despite these improvements, the state of the world’s marine resources has not improved.

“Life below water, which the Sustainable Development Agenda commits us to conserve, is a major ally in our effort to meet a host of challenges, from food security to climate change,” said FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva. He added, “This report shows that capture fisheries can be managed sustainably, while also pointing to the enormous and growing potential of aquaculture to boost human nutrition and support livelihoods with productive jobs.”

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The report notes that globally, fish provided 6.7 per cent of all protein consumed by humans and offered a rich source of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, calcium, zinc and iron. It further notes that some 57 million people were engaged in the primary fish production sectors.

“Worldwide exports amounted to $148 billion in 2014, up from $8 billion in 1976. Developing countries were the source of $80 billion of fishery exports.

For the complete report, click here.

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