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.
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.