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The production reached a record 214 million tonnes in 2020

The 2022 edition of The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture (SOFIA) launched by FAO underlines how sustainable global production and development remain critical to supplying the growing world’s demand for aquatic foods.

Thereby, the report coincides with the launch of the Decade of Action to deliver the Global Goals, the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, and the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.

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Firstly, SOFIA highlights that aquaculture production reached a record 214 million tonnes in 2020. Comprising 178 million tonnes of aquatic animals and 36 million tonnes of algae. Particularly, due to the growth of this industry in Asia.

In addition, the production rose to 122.6 million tonnes, with a total value of USD 281.5 billion. Accurately, Asia produced 91.6% of the total.

Moreover, the international trade of fisheries and products generated around USD 151 billion in 2020. This translates into a decrease from the record high of USD 165 billion in 2018. The main reason for this was the COVID-19 pandemic.

Finally, the UN study recalls that about 600 million livelihoods depend at least partially on fisheries and aquaculture. Also, approximately 58.5 million people were employed in the primary sector.

Overfishing warning

The good news is that 82.5% of 2019 landings were from biologically sustainable stocks. This means a 3.8% improvement from 2017. Although, the fraction of fishery stocks within biologically sustainable levels decreased to 64.6% in 2019, 1.2% lower than in 2017.

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According to SOFIA, rebuilding overfished stocks could increase fisheries production by 16.5 million tonnes. Further, raise the contribution of marine fisheries to the food security, nutrition, economic growth, and well-being of coastal communities.

Reducing global fleet size

China and European countries have made several efforts and consequently reduce their global fleet size. Thanks to this, the number of fishing vessels in 2020 was estimated at 4.1 million, a reduction of 10% since 2015.

On the other hand, Asia still had the largest fishing fleet, at about two-thirds of the global total.

Aquatic animal production

Meanwhile, the sustained growth of aquaculture will allow the total production of aquatic animals to reach 202 million tonnes in 2030. In 2027 it will reach for the first time 100 million tonnes and 106 million tonnes in 2030. In other words, aquatic animal production is forecast to grow another 14% by 2030.

Women in aquaculture

SOFIA remembers that the presence of women in the industry is still disproportionately low. They often face gender-based constraints that prevent them from fully exploring and benefiting from their roles in the sector.

Most importantly, it indicates that just 21% of people employed in the primary fisheries and aquaculture sector in 2020 were women. Rising to about 50% for those employed in the entire aquatic value chain (including pre-and post-harvest).

Promoting the Blue Transformation

The program Blue Transformation wants to support resilience in aquatic food systems and ensure fisheries and aquaculture grow sustainably, through a series of actions. It focuses on communities that depend on the sector.

In conclusion, it includes climate- and environment-friendly policies and practices. As well as technological innovations are critical building blocks for Blue Transformation.

Likewise, it incises in proactive public and private partnerships are needed to improve production, reduce food loss and waste and enhance equitable access to lucrative markets.

About the State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture

The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture is the biennial flagship report of the FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Division that analyses the status of global stocks as well as trends in fisheries and aquaculture at a global and regional level.

SOFIA aims to provide objective, reliable and up-to-date information to a wide audience – policymakers, managers, scientists, stakeholders and indeed everyone interested in the fisheries and aquaculture sector.

Furthermore, is a critical reference for governments, policy makers, academics, civil society and all actors working in the fisheries and aquaculture sector.

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