Rio +20: Reflecting on progress for fisheries and aquaculture

Stephen Hall -

Large Tilapia cages near Alexandria, Egypt. Photo by Graeme Macfadyen (Poseidon), 2011

On the 20th Anniversary of the first Rio Earth Summit it is time to reflect on our progress in putting fisheries and aquaculture on sustainable footings and the lessons we have learnt so far

In 1987 the Brundtland Commission articulated perhaps the central global challenge of our age – how do we achieve development outcomes that meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs?

Fish – making a meal of it

Stephen Hall -

Fish and Rice; a daily staple for much of the world's poor. Photo credit Patrick Dugan

There is something circular about the idea of catching fish to use as feed for farmed fish, livestock, poultry and our pets. And with about one third of the global fish catch going in this direction, most of it destined for aquaculture, you might well ask whether growing the farmed fish to put in your supermarket has deprived a hungry or malnourished person of food.

Fish and nutrition – not all fish are created equal

Stephen Hall -

Drying Omena, Lake Victoria. Photo credit Patrick Dugan

It might surprise you to learn that fish are more similar to fruit and vegetables than they are to poultry, cattle, or any of the other animals we eat. At least, they are if you think about the variety of shapes and sizes that fish and fruits and vegetables come in. As foods though, the more important similarity is that these various types differ widely in the nutrition they offer. So as with fruit and vegetables, while admonitions to eat more fish are often heard, exactly what kind of fish you eat matters – especially if you are malnourished.