Better management of the world’s ocean resources is crucial in ensuring food global security, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said during a roundtable discussion with United States Secretary of State John Kerry.
The event, Our Ocean: Next Steps on Sustainable Fishing and Marine Protected Areas, was organized as a follow-up to this week’s UN climate summit and to take advantage of the presence of world leaders at the ongoing UN General Assembly.
Ten percent of the world’s population depends on fisheries for their livelihoods, and 4.3 billion people are reliant on fish for 15 percent of their animal protein intake, Graziano da Silva told participants.
He added that for small island development states, the contributions of ocean resources to nutrition, livelihoods, and development are especially significant.
John Kerry emphasized that "we need to do a better job of protecting our ocean’s fish stocks, which play a critical role in economic security for millions of family and in food security for millions more."
According to the latest edition of FAO’s The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture report, the fisheries and aquaculture sector is facing major challenges, ranging from harmful fishing practices to weak governance and poor management to the scourge of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
Beyond its negative effects on the status of fish stocks and the environment, IUU fishing brings with it very high monetary costs as well to the tune of $20 billion per year, the FAO chief said.