Fisheries, sustainability and development

This ‘Academy Blue Book’ describes global fisheries and aquaculture from the points of view of sustainable ecosystems, economy, trade and development. The main objective is to provide an overview of fisheries and aquaculture, their natural conditions and their significance for economic development and people’s livelihoods. A further objective is to show the impact of rich countries on the developing world within this sector through trade, aid and global fisheries.

The target group is broad in scope: policy makers, general public, introductory level students. The Royal Academy of Agriculture and Forestry wishes to take part in an ongoing discussion, sometimes bordering to a public row, with a scientifically based and more easily accessible book. This book should be seen as a source of information intended to raise the level of knowledge among a broader group of people.

Threats and possibilities in fisheries and aquaculture are brought forward in the contributions from more than fifty authors in academia, international organisations and public administration. It is striking that most countries, rich or poor, have not succeeded in creating a comprehensive management system for marine and fresh-water resources. Fisheries are not only important to a great many people as a source of food and livelihoods, fisheries cause ecological and socio-economic problems that are detrimental not only to people that depend on fisheries, but to biodiversity and the ecosystem as a whole. In this respect, it is essential to make the right connections between the ecological impact and poverty reduction.

Fisheries and aquaculture are essential to the economic development, trade revenues and food supply for a large number of developing countries, but are generally ignored in development and trade policies. However, rich countries still influence fisheries and aquaculture and the contribution to development in many ways. Neither in natural resource management, nor in development co-operation are fisheries and aquaculture treated in their proper context.