Possibilities for a Global Nutrition Boost


The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FOA) confirmed in their latest report that fish farming could be the solution to the malnutrition of people in developing countries in the coming decade. There has been a major decline in fishing stocks throughout the world due to the demands of the market. Overfishing is when more fish are caught than are replaced through natural production. This occurs because most fishers only care about profit, not the environmental and socio-economic impacts. This is negatively impacting the coastal communities of small island nations, as well as countries along the coasts of Africa and Asia.

According to FAO, in 2012, thirty percent of fish stocks are overexploited and around fifty-seven percent of fish stocks are completely exploited. The report that FAO released suggests that an “increased investment in the global aquaculture sector” could “boost farmed-fish production, especially in Africa and in Asia, by more than four per cent through 2022, as producers focus more intently on productivity-enhancing technologies such as water use, breeding, hatchery practices and feedstuff innovation.” The idea is that there are better technologies available for fishing than what is currently being used by developing nations. Therefore, if people invested in aquaculture there could be a great increase in the number of fish farms throughout the world.

This would be beneficial to not only the environment, but also the millions of malnourished people throughout the world. Fish provide a great source of protein. Currently, there are millions of children throughout Asian and African countries that are suffering from mineral and vitamin deficiencies. If the number of fish farms increased throughout the world it would be a step towards not only helping to stabilize the aquatic environment, but it would also help to decrease the amount of malnutrition in developing countries.

Do you think that the FAO’s suggestions are viable ones? Do you think that the United Nations should somehow step in to enforce changes within aquaculture? Perhaps the U.N. should require major commercial fishers to become involved in restoration practices in relation to the amount of catch they bring in each year. What other ways could the U.N. try to increase fish populations in order to ensure that people in developing nations don’t continue to lack the proper means of nutrition to survive?

Sources: United Nations News Centre, FAO Report

Photo: Modern Farmer


  1. In my opinion the FAO suggestions are very viable. This could be perceived as a very innovative, yet fairly simple way to get people the resources they need to help themselves. Instead of just providing food, it would be much better if people were granted means to actually produce what they need on their own. Fish is a great source of nutrition and putting in place more regulations on where, how, and how much to fish seems like a necessity. There are protections already in place, but enforcement seems to be one of the biggest issues. More monitoring should be required by all costal nations. Not only because of the nutritional value which could be a great aid in solving hunger issues in underdeveloped countries, but also of the importance of fish for the whole eco-system. U.N. could concentrate its efforts on educating fisherman and investing into restoration practices to aid the natural cycle.

  2. Fish farming is definitely a helpful solution to malnutrition around the world. Not only does the practice supply food to those who need it, but it may also provide job security to coastal countries around the world. Jobs mean income and income means food. Fisherman and farmers may be able to learn these practices and create a secure way to earn a living. Also, with the number of fish decreasing due to overfishing, fish farming can ensure a constant, if not growing supply of fish for people to consume.

    However, I think that fish farming should be highly regulated. It is common for fish farms to use pesticides, veterinary drugs, and other chemicals on the fish. These toxic supplements may affect human health and become unsafe to eat. Countries who wish to utilize this method should ensure that the fish are safe to eat. Also, these countries should ensure there are no negative environmental impacts of fish farming such as destroying animal habitats in the area.

  3. Aquaculture is a must, not an option. According to the World Resources Institute, the industry will have to double production by 2050 in order to meet global demand for seafood.

    It is important to remember, however, that like anything else, aquaculture can be done well or it can be done badly. Fish are used to freedom of movement not generally afforded to other domesticated animals. Certainly there is some allure to raising trashcan tilapia, but in confined or industrial settings, risks of a negative impact on both fish and the environment abound.

    I would recommend the model executed with some success by Norwegian Salmon farms that raise salmon in fjords. Such farming methods, whether they would make use of natural topographical features or would merely mimic those features as a model, hold great promise for the future of sustainable fish farming.

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