Wed, Jul 25, 2018 - Page 14 News List

One in three fish caught never makes it to the plate: UN report

Fish caught by a trawler pictured on June 9, 2017 in Kaohsiung.

Photo: Huang Hsu-lei, Liberty Times
照片: 自由時報記者黃旭磊

One in three fish caught around the world never makes it to the plate, either being thrown back overboard or rotting before it can be eaten, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Its biannual report on the state of the world’s fisheries, released on July 9, also shows that total fish production has reached a record high thanks to more fish farming, particularly in China, with over half the fish eaten in the world now coming from aquaculture.

In contrast, the amount of wild caught fish has barely changed since the late 1980s and a third of commercial fish species are overfished, the FAO says. Fish farms will continue to expand and the FAO projects that almost 20 percent more fish will be eaten by 2030, helping sustain the growing global population. However, farmed fish can harm wild populations because often their feed, made from wild fish such as sardines and anchovies, is caught at sea and they can cause pollution.

Fish are a crucial source of nutrition for billions of people around the globe, but overfishing is rife in some regions, with two-thirds of species overexploited in the Mediterranean and Black Seas and the Southeast Pacific.

“Since 1961 the annual global growth in fish consumption has been twice as high as population growth, demonstrating that the fisheries sector is crucial in meeting the FAO’s goal of a world without hunger and malnutrition,” said Jose Graziano da Silva, FAO director general.

The FAO reports that 35 percent of global catches are wasted. About a quarter of these losses are bycatch or discards, mostly from trawlers, where unwanted fish are thrown back dead because they are too small or an unwanted species. But most of the losses are due to a lack of knowledge or equipment, such as refrigeration or ice-makers, needed to keep fish fresh.


1. fishery

漁業 (yu2 ye4)

2. fish farming phr.


(yang3 zhi2 yu2 ye4)

3. aquaculture n.


(shui2 chan2 yang3 zhi2)

4. overfish v.


(jin4 xing2 guo4 du4 bu3 lao1)

5. trawler n.


(tuo1 wang3 yu2 chuan2)

The FAO has worked with developing nations to cut losses, including the use of raised racks for fish drying, which resulted in a 50 percent cut in losses of fish from Lake Tanganyika in Africa. Around the Indian Ocean, better facilities for handling the crab harvest cut losses by 40 percent.

The FAO report sets out the huge scale of global fishing: it employs 60 million people and there are 4.6 million fishing vessels on the planet. This huge effort is worrying in many places, the FAO says, with too many boats chasing too few fish.

As a result, the number of species being overfished has trebled in the last 40 years. The report also states climate change will drive fish away from warm tropical waters, where nations are often especially reliant on seafood, towards more temperate regions.

Lasse Gustavsson, executive director of Oceana in Europe, said huge improvements were needed across the fishing industry. “Food waste on a hungry planet is outrageous,” he said. “The fact that one-third of all fish caught goes to waste is a huge cause for concern for global food security.”

(The Guardian)






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