Save the Oceans, Feed the World: Overview
What food requires no fresh water, produces little carbon dioxide, doesn’t use up any arable land, and provides healthy, lean protein at a cost per pound lower than beef, chicken, lamb or pork, making it accessible to the world’s poor?
The answer: wild fish. And the humble fish will be critical to feeding the world in the coming decades as the human population continues to grow, passing 9 billion by 2050.
According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the world must produce 70 percent more food to meet the coming hunger needs, from 270 million metric tons in 2009 to 470 million metric tons in 2050.
But the water and land resources needed to grow that additional food are increasingly scarce. Meanwhile, the poorest billion people on earth already depend upon fish as their primary source of animal protein. Cheap and accessible to anyone with a hook or net, wild seafood can feed the world if we manage it sustainably.
Unfortunately, the global fishing fleet doesn’t, in general, fish sustainably. The global fish catch peaked in the late 1980s and has been declining ever since. Some parts of the ocean are so overfished that jellyfish are now the largest biomass, moving in as their predators disappear.
If current trends continue, we’ll only have enough wild seafood to feed half the world’s population in 2050. But if we apply sustainable fishing programs around the world, the trend is reversed dramatically. We could have enough fish to feed more than 12 billion people, well above the 9.1 billion projected by the FAO.
Through our efforts to promote responsible fishing practices, Oceana is working to protect the oceans while helping combat hunger around the world.