AS part of its efforts to interact closely with the global fisheries and seafood industry, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) will participate in the North Atlantic Seafood Forum (NASF) in Bergen, Norway, from March 3 to 5.
Arni Mathiesen, assistant director general for fisheries and aquaculture, will deliver an opening address on the ‘Outlook for world seafood trade to 2030’.
Mathiesen said: ‘2015 is an exciting year for us. Not only does FAO itself celebrate 70 years, but we also mark the twentieth anniversary of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries.’
The code, laying forth principles and standards for national and international efforts to ensure sustainable exploitation of aquatic living resources, was unanimously adopted at the FAO conference in October 1995 by all FAO member countries.
FAO believes that the principles of the code are robust and form the basis for more recent international agreements. The code is also important for eco-labelling issues, for which FAO has developed a number of guidelines for certification.
Moreover, says the organisation, the code is also the basis for the Blue Growth Initiative. FAO is actively promoting Blue Growth as a coherent approach for the sustainable, integrated and socio-economically sensitive management of oceans and wetlands, focusing on capture fisheries, aquaculture, ecosystem services, trade and social protection of coastal communities.
‘Today, informed consumers are increasingly aware of and vocal about the need to safeguard our natural resources for future generations. Therefore, the code of conduct and the Blue Growth initiative are more important than ever to ensure consumers as well as industry stakeholders that their choices are sustainable,’ said FAO, announcing its forthcoming participation in the NASF.
‘We believe that industry is an important partner for FAO in working together to ensure that sustainable approaches meet an increased demand for fish and fish products for a growing population.
‘As illustrated in the 2014 State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture (SOFIA), figures show that world capita fish consumption increased from an average of 9.9 kg in the 1960s, to 19.2 kg in 2012.
‘And our most recent estimates indicate that this reached 20 kg per capita in 2014.
As also reported in SOFIA, fish provide more than 2.9 billion people with about 20 per cent of their animal protein, and 4.3 billion people with about 15 per cent of such proteins.
‘The latest SOFIA also reports that aquaculture continues to grow, albeit at a slowing rate. According to FAO figures, aquaculture attained another all-time high in 2012, with 90. 4 million tonnes (valued at $137.7 billion USD).
‘We believe that there are more opportunities than ever before for the fisheries sector to play a key role in ensuring food security for a world population expected to reach 9 billion by 2050,’ said FAO.
‘To meet these objectives, partnerships with industry are crucial. And as informed consumers make purchasing decisions that increasingly pose the difficult questions about sustainability and global impact when purchasing locally, partnerships between FAO, governments, partner institutions, and industry are even more relevant today than they were in the past.
‘We look forward to close engagement with industry over these days at NASF, and in the years ahead, as we work in partnership to ensure the adoption of the principles of the Code of Conduct as the basis for the Blue Growth Initiative, while simultaneously producing enough safe and nutritious food fish to meet the needs of our growing population.’