World Bank: Fisheries to play major role in feeding rising population
A new World Bank report estimates that in 2030, Sub-Saharan Africa’s dependency on fish imports is expected to rise from 14 percent in 2000 to 34 percent in 2030. (Image: Michael Sarver)
Feeding an expected global population of 9 billion by 2050 is a daunting challenge that is engaging researchers, technical experts, and leaders the world over.
A relatively unappreciated, yet promising fact is that fisheries can play a major role in satisfying the palates of the world’s growing middle income group while also meeting the food security needs of the poorest.
A new World Bank report focuses on this rising sector, estimating that in 2030, 62% of the seafood we eat will be farm-raised to meet growing demand from regions such as Asia, where roughly 70% of fish will be consumed.
The report titled ‘Fish to 2030: prospects for fisheries and aquaculture’ notes that China will continue to power both production and consumption in this sector, as in many others, producing 37% of the world’s fish, while consuming 38% of global food fish.
However, a closer look across regions shows that per capita fish consumption is projected to decline in Japan, Latin America, Europe, Central Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Taking the case of Sub-Saharan Africa in particular, its per capita fish consumption is projected to decline at an annual rate of 1 per cent to 5.6 kilograms during the 2010-2030 period.
However, due to rapid population growth, which is estimated at 2.3 percent annually during the 2010 to 2030 period, even as per capita consumption falls, the total food fish consumption demand for Sub-Saharan Africa would grow substantially by 30 percent between 2010 and 2030 to hit 7,759 thousand tons in 2030.
On the other hand, the projected increase in production is only marginal. Capture production is projected to increase from an average of 5,422 thousand tons in 2007–09 to 5,472 thousand tons in 2030, while aquaculture is projected to increase from 231 thousand tons to 464 thousand tons during the same period.
While the region is already a net importer of fish, under the baseline scenario, its fish imports in 2030 are projected to be 11 times higher than the level in 2000.
Finally, as a result of demand outstripping supply, the region’s dependency on fish imports is expected to rise from 14 percent in 2000 to 34 percent in 2030.
World-wide, during the last three decades, capture fisheries production increased from 69 million to 93 million tons and, in the same time, world aquaculture production has increased from 5 million to 63 million tons.
Currently about 80 per cent of the fish produced globally is consumed by people as food and according to the report, this proportion is not going to change in 2030, where one important feature of this food-producing sector that should be taken into consideration is that fish is highly traded in international markets.
Developing countries are well integrated in the global seafood trade, and flow of seafood exports from developing countries to developed countries has been increasing. In value, 67 percent of fishery exports by developing countries are now directed to developed countries.
Keen to benefit from the economic and environmental advantages of sustainable aquaculture, many developing countries are helping their communities improve the way they produce fish.
In Asia, Vietnam has been a trail-blazer, working with the World Bank since May 2012 to help fishing communities adopt good fish farming practices to better manage disease and improve waste management.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, Ghana is showing the way in sustainable aquaculture by establishing fish farms in the Volta Lake region.