Is the planet approaching “peak fish”? Not so fast, study says


Production increases from the fish industry are predicted over the upcoming decade.


That is an 18 percent increase over the present production level of 171 million tons.


But expansion will require improvement in strengthening management regimes, reducing waste and loss, and handling climate change, pollution of aquatic environments, and issues like fishing, the report adds.


“The sector isn’t without its own challenges, however, including the requirement to decrease the proportion of fish stocks fished beyond biological sustainability”


Trends in fish supply

The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture reports that 90.9 million tons of fish had been captured from the wild at 2016 — a small reduction of 2 million tons in the year earlier, largely as a result of periodic changes in populations of Peruvian Anchoveta connected with El Niño.


The total amount of fish plateaued beginning in the 1990s and has remained stable.


Despite that reality, the planet has been consuming greater quantities of bass — 20.4 kg per capita at 2016 versus only under 10 kg/pc from the 1960s — thanks in no small part to greater generation through aquaculture, a business that expanded rapidly during the 1980s and 1990s.


In 2016, production by aquaculture attained 80 million tons, based on SOFIA 2018 — supplying 53 percent of all fish.


Efforts to decrease the total amount of fish chucked out post-capture or being lost at sea — for by using discards and trimmings to create fishmeal example — will help meet with continuing increases.


The status of fish stocks.

Some 59.9 percent of the significant commercial fish species which FAO monitors are presently being fished at sustainable levels, while 33.1 percent are being fished at unsustainable amounts — a scenario that SOFIA 2018 explains as “worrying.” (The 7 percent are underfished).


90 percent of fisheries were used at levels that were sustainable, and only 10 percent were being fished.


These trends don’t automatically indicate that no progress was made toward achieving Sustainable Development Goal 14, which involves the worldwide community to efficiently govern fish harvesting ending overfishing, illegal fishing, fishing and harmful fishing practices, and also to execute time-management strategies aimed at restoring stocks.


However, the report of FAO warns that the world has diverged in its way in ones — in nations together with overcapacity and inventory status many boats chasing too few fish.


Counteracting this may necessitate building powerful partnerships, especially in policy coordination, human and financial resource mobilization and deployment of innovative technology (e.g. for tracking fisheries).


Other challenges

While research indicates that climate change may cause global fish catch amounts to change by under 10 percent, in where fish have been captured important changes are expected, SOFIA 2018 notes. Catches are very likely growing in regions of the north and to fall in several areas west.


Shifts in the supply of fisheries will have managerial operational, and consequences, the report states. Research will be necessary to produce strategies for permitting the species as well as both fisheries that they use to adapt to climate change.