ShapeShapeauthorShapecrossShapeShapeShapeGrouphamburgerhomeGroupmagnifyShapeShapeShapeShape

Fresh Perspective on Future Health of the Oceans

GLOBAL - The Economists World Oceans Summit (held 22-24 February 2012) examined how the increasing activity in and around the oceans can be managed sustainably and what this means for business and other key stakeholders.

Dr Stephen Hall, Director General of WorldFish highlighted the value of such a fora for "bringing together divergent points of view to debate, discuss and deconstruct some of the opportunities, myths and rhetoric on the oceans."

World Fish Center reports that looking at potential courses of action to address the sustainability of the world’s oceans and the contributions they make to human wellbeing, it is difficult to overlook the value of aquaculture. As a long-term solution for producing large quantities of sustainable seafood; as a means for providing the poor and vulnerable in developing countries with incomes, and as an engine of economic growth, aquaculture offers considerable potential.

A session on Feeding the World – are the oceans the solution? explored the contribution that both aquaculture and capture fisheries can make to meeting the challenge of feeding a foreseeable population of 9 billion people with sustainable sources of animal source protein.

In the session, Dr Hall pointed out that the growing aquaculture industry is an increasingly important complement to ocean based fisheries, and currently provides an estimated 50 per cent of global fish supply for human consumption. However, with almost a billion people who rely solely on wild fisheries for their primary source of animal protein, it is vital to also work to sustain these.

Building on this theme Dr Hall argued that sustaining the world’s oceans and seafood supplies needs international development agencies, government departments and philanthropists to further invest in improving governance for the future of global fish stocks.

“Failure to do so and maintain productive, long-term sustainable fisheries will have profound economic and food security consequences that even the fastest growing aquaculture industry cannot compensate for,” he stated. “At the same time we must also invest in the technologies and policies to support a growing aquaculture industry that also has an enormous contribution to make”.

One notable event at the Summit was the announcement by Robert Zoellick, President of the World Bank, of the launch of the Global Partnership for Oceans, a global alliance dedicated to managing and protecting the world's oceans, pledging as much as $1.5 billion to the initiative over five years.

Charlotte Johnson

Learn more