Slowly but surely the peak of fishing capacity is being reached in the seas and oceans of the globe. In almost 60 years, the FAO indicates that our consumption has doubled. If depletion is not yet a reality, there is another disturbing observation: a third of the fish caught is wasted.
The forecasts communicated by the FAO/WHO in its latest SOFIA report (Situation Mondiale des Pêches et de l’Aquaculture or The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture) published last year show a significant increase in production during the next decade (+18%, or 201 million tonnes), compared to the current production level (171 million tonnes). With this growing demand, the sector faces many challenges.
Too many boats and not enough fish
Nearly 59.9% of commercial fish species tracked by FAO are now fished at biologically sustainable levels. That’s good, but still too little, as 33.1% is fished at biologically unsustainable levels, a situation that the SOFIA report describes as “worrying”. Today, there are too many boats and not enough fish to catch, especially in developing countries. This situation is nevertheless offset by better management of fisheries and the situation of stocks in developed countries. Climate change and pollution are also sources of concern and significant changes are expected where fish are caught, particularly in tropical regions, which are heavily dependent on fishing for their inhabitants.
30% of fish caught are wasted!
For 4 years, the Alaska pollock remains the most caught fish in the oceans, ahead of the Peruvian anchovy. In 2016, consumption worldwide was 20.3 kg per capita (20.5 kg in 2017) compared to just under 10 kg per capita in the 1960s – thanks to increased production via aquaculture , a sector that grew rapidly in the 1980s and 1990s. To meet this ever-increasing demand, without depleting the oceans, one of the first strategies is to reduce the amount of fish abandoned at sea or thrown away after being caught. (27% of the fish landed would be wasted!) for example by using discards and trimmings to make fishmeal.