Friday, February 18, 2011: 3:00 PM
146B (Washington Convention Center )
The growing demand for food, feed and fiber has been a focus of much attention within the research community, in light of the challenges of feeding 9 billion people by 2050 while avoiding forestation, loss of natural habitat and biodiversity, and unsustainable degradation of water and land resources. These studies have mostly focused on land-based food systems, however, and rarely take account of the vast quantities of protein that are harvested from the oceans – often in very unsustainable ways. The rise in seafood demand have been dramatic, in the last decades, and are just as much tied to growing populations and incomes as meat demand is, from land-based systems. Therefore the challenges of maintaining balanced and healthy intakes of protein and nutrients from plant and animal sources, while still reducing the environmental impacts of agriculture and aquaculture, extends also to fish from oceans and inland waters. The critical state of overexploitation in many of the world’s important fisheries raises pressing questions of governance, resource management and the need to cooperate in order to maximize the welfare of future generations.
In this paper, we explore some scenario of future diet change and socio-economic evolution in fast-growing regions of the world, as well as for poorer populations – in order to see the implications for food for land and marine-based food production. Some recent studies have pointed out the dangers posed by over-fishing in key regions, and their implications for the availability and price of fish products is examined. By comparing a baseline set of demand and supply projections to one in which we have simulated recovery and improved management in key fisheries, we illustrate the contribution that marine and inland fisheries play in supporting the world food economy, and the dangers of delaying concerted policy action, in terms of its effect on future food prices and levels of malnourishment and hunger.