What animal protein 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.
But the water and land resources needed to grow that additional food are increasingly scarce. Meanwhile, roughly one billion people, many of them poor, already depend upon fish as a primary source of animal protein. 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. In some parts of the ocean, overfishing and other causes have led to jellyfish taking over, 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 a billion people a healthy seafood meal each day.
Through our efforts to promote responsible fishing practices, Oceana is working to save the oceans and feed the world.