The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) reports around 80 million tonnes of fish were caught “wild” in 2011-12 and global aquaculture production set another all-time high at more than 90 million tonnes, including nearly 24 million tonnes of edible plants like seaweeds. In total, the world harvested an extra 10 million tonnes of aquatic food in 2012 compared to the previous year, says the report.
Global fisheries and aquaculture production totalled 158 million tonnes in 2012 – around 10 million tonnes more than 2010.
An estimated 1.3 billion tonnes of food are lost per year — to about one-third of all food produced. This figure includes post-harvest fish losses, which tend to be greater in small-scale fisheries.
The UN was upbeat on global fish stocks, identifying a marginal decrease from 30% to 28.8% in the over-exploitation of the stocks which it assessed.
“71.2% of the fish stocks are being fished within biologically sustainable levels. Of these, fully-fished stocks – meaning those at or very close to their maximum sustainable production – account for over 60% and underfished stocks about 10%”, said a spokesman. “This is a reversal in [the] trend observed during the past few years, a positive sign in the right direction.”
But the authors warned that the burgeoning fish farming industry needs to become far less dependent on wild fish for feed and should rear many different species to avoid wastage.