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.
Indisputably, China is a major global influencer. Like many other sectors, the current and future dynamics of fisheries and aquaculture are significantly affected by what happens in the country. China's share of the world's fish production rose from 6% in 1980 to 35% in 2012. It is also now the world's top exporter of fish, with 30% of the global export market, and the third largest importer after the United States and Japan.