Humanity ate more fish than ever before last year, with the aver age per son account ing for around 17 kilo grams of our swim ming friends, accord ing to the Unit ed Nations Food and Agri cul ture Orga ni za tion (FAO).
In total, world fish eries and fish farms pro duced 145 mil lion tonnes of fish in 2009, 90 from cap ture and 55 from aqua cul ture.
Unfor tu nate ly, while the world’s appetite for fish has increased, its abil i ty to man age fish eries hasn’t. Around 32% of world stocks are cur rent ly over ex ploit ed, deplet ed or recov er ing, says the FAO’s lat est report on the topic.
“That there has been no improve ment in the sta tus of stocks is a mat ter of great concern,” says Richard Grainger, an FAO fish eries expert and report author (press release). “The per cent age of over ex ploita tion needs to go down although at least we seem to be reach ing a plateau.”
Aqua cul ture account ed for 46% of world food fish pro duc tion, slight ly down on the 2008 report data due to a revi sion of sta tis tics by China. Its rapid growth as a sec tor means it is still on course to over take cap ture fish eries though (see Nature’s 2009 fea ture Future Fish for more on this).
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