The recent World Bank report on future supply and demand for fish deserves attention and applause. It represents a laudable effort to explore how the economics of fish supply and fish demand interact and how increasing incomes and population growth will drive change. While the authors are rightly cautious about over-interpreting their findings, their results provide some arresting glimpses of what the future might hold.
It’s easy to forget just how environmentally friendly wild capture fisheries are as a means for providing food. Jessica Gephart and her colleagues remind us. At WorldFish, we spend a lot of time thinking about how improving fisheries and aquaculture can reduce poverty and hunger. We focus our research on how fishing and aquaculture can increase incomes and improve rural economies and how we can increase the affordability and availability of fish to improve health and nutrition among vulnerable populations. Less often do we think about how fishing and aquaculture can save scarce resources.
I was in the Philippines a day after Yolanda struck working with both staff members and our Board. Our Philippines-based staff gave a presentation about how communities in Leyte, Bohol, and Cebu had identified options for improving their livelihoods and increasing their food security as part of the CGIAR Aquatic Agricultural Systems program. In a somber moment, we all realized that not one of the houses we had seen in the presentation was still standing and, most likely, some of the people we were working with had died.