Managing the World’s Fisheries to Improve Marine Conservation, Increase Food Security and Reduce Poverty
Fisheries are an important source of global food security, income and employment and are closely tied to changes in the health of marine environments. Around the world, fish provide about 3 billion people with almost 20 percent of their intake of animal protein, and 4.3 billion people with at least 15 percent of such protein.1 Many international organizations such as the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the Global Environment Facility are investing in projects to improve the contribution of fisheries to food security and poverty alleviation. Several U.S. foundations and NGOs fund hundreds of projects around the world with similar objectives.
Unfortunately, the world’s best efforts at managing its fisheries are hampered by two distinct, but related challenges: (1) a profound lack of data on the health of global fish stocks, and (2) a lack of a systematic analysis of which elements of fisheries management systems lead to improvements in marine conservation, increases in food security, and reductions in poverty.
Several major initiatives just beginning, such as the World Bank’s Global Partnership for Oceans and the 50 in 10 Program — need new information and analysis to support science-based decisions on how to produce the most benefits.
Given the world’s need for healthy fish stocks, a systematic review of the performance of fisheries and analysis of factors leading to successful outcomes is long overdue. The Fisheries Measures Working Group will fill that gap and provide information to help guide management of specific fisheries, as well as investment in projects and solutions that are shown to achieve the best outcomes over time.
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1 FAO. The State of the Worlds Fisheries and Aquaculture 2012. Rome.