July Ag Sector Council: Fishing for the Future
In July, USAID’s Ag Sector Council Seminar Series welcomed Bryan Gillooly and Richard Volk, both of USAID, to talk about the current state of small-scale fisheries worldwide. (Watch the full recording of the seminar, "Fishing for the Future: The Why and How of Nature’s Most Abundant Protein Source.") USAID is currently sponsoring a number of fisheries/aquaculture programs in four Feed the Future countries (Bangladesh, Senegal, Ghana, and Cambodia) as well as in other selected non-FTF countries. Gillooly set the stage for the discussion by providing information on the importance of fisheries for food security. Over 200 million people, the vast majority of whom are living in developing countries, depend on fisheries for income generation as well as for food. Small-scale fisheries are responsible for approximately half of all global catch for consumption and employ 96 percent of all fishers (approximately 50 million individuals) worldwide. In addition, fish provide one-third of the planet more than 20 percent of their animal protein intake and are a key part of a nutritious diet, especially for nursing mothers and children.
Threats to small-scale fisheries are numerous and include overfishing, climate change, marine pollution, government subsidies, unsustainable feed for
aquaculture, and weak governance. More and more people are catching less fish that are smaller in size. Smaller fish are less likely to be able to reproduce at a rate necessary to replenish fish stocks, further contributing to global supply issues. Gillooly and Volk stressed the importance of addressing these challenges by instituting more controls, incorporating traditional knowledge and community participation into fishery management, integrating fisheries into the larger market and value chain, and approaching fishery management keeping the entire local ecosystem in mind. To do this, local capacity must be strengthened and key stakeholders brought on board who support an integrated approach. Watch the video interview below for key takeaways from Brian Volk. For more information, additional resources, and examples of USAID’s work in fisheries, please visit the event page.