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Latest data on the state of world fish stocks released today

Press Release

Latest data on the state of world fish stocks released today

GreenFacts summary of new FAO report

Brussels, 2 March 2009.  Demand for fish is still growing and exerting strong pressures on fish stocks, though growing aquaculture production is now meeting almost half of the demand of fish for food. This is one of the trends confirmed by the latest data from the 'State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture' released today by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.

The FAO called upon GreenFacts, an independent non-profit organization based in Brussels, to provide the general public with a plain-language version of the 'World review of fisheries and aquaculture' section of this flag ship report. This summary, freely available at www.greenfacts.org/en/fisheries/, offers a convenient tool for digging into the facts and figures.

Highlights of the FAO report on the State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2008

The report concludes that capture fisheries production is stagnating and aquaculture output is expanding faster than any other animal-based food sector, with 47% of the fish for food now being produced by aquaculture. Recent developments thus continued to follow the same trends that were already becoming apparent at the end of the 1990s:

Concerns are mounting with regard the livelihoods of fishers and the sustainability of both commercial catches and the aquatic ecosystems from which they are extracted.

A bit more than half of all monitored marine fish stocks are now fully exploited, producing catches close to their maximum sustainable limits with no room for further expansion. Another quarter are overexploited, depleted, or slowly recovering. The large number of stocks that are either fully or over-exploited indicate that the maximum potential for the world's marine capture fisheries has been reached and that management measures are needed to reduce exploitation.

The current state of fishery resources and their ecosystems allows little room for delay in actions that should have been taken in the last three decades.

About GreenFacts

GreenFacts asbl/vzw is an independent, multi-stakeholder non-profit organization based in Belgium. Our mission is to bring complex scientific reports on health and the environment to the reach of non-experts.

We publish two types of faithful summaries of scientific reports: GreenFacts Digests of scientific consensus reports (authorised by the GreenFacts Scientific Board), and GreenFacts Co-Publications (published at the request of contracting organizations). GreenFacts' publications are freely available in several languages on www.greenfacts.org. Each publication is a faithful summary of an authoritative international scientific report.

GreenFacts was created in 2001 by individuals from scientific institutions, environmental and health organizations, and businesses, who called for wider access to unbiased information on health and the environment.

About FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department

The Fisheries and Aquaculture Department is one of the eight departments of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (www.fao.org/fishery/). Its mission is to facilitate and secure the long-term sustainable development and utilization of the world's fisheries and aquaculture.

Every two years, the Department publishes its flagship publication: 'The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture' (SOFIA) with the purpose of providing policy-makers, civil society and those whose livelihoods depend on the sector a comprehensive, objective and global view of capture fisheries and aquaculture, including associated policy issues.

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For further details visit www.greenfacts.org or contact

Katharine Eaton
Tel: +32(0)2 211 3468