Photo: FAO/John Wessels – Tuna generates resources that sustain food and nutrition security
World Fisheries Day is celebrated annually on the 21st of November.
This day was created by fishermen associations, as a way to celebrate this profession. Currently, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations commemorate and develop activities on this day.
Fishing communities around the world celebrate this day through rallies, workshops, public meetings, cultural programs, dramas, exhibitions, music shows and demonstrations to highlight the importance of the sector.
The objective is to highlight the importance of this sector for the economy and development of countries, especially for the communities that sustain themselves from this activity.
Also, World Fisheries Day helps highlight the critical importance of water to human life and the lives it sustains, in and out of water.
Fish is an important part of the diet of people around the world, especially those living near rivers, lakes and seas. A number of traditional societies and communities are gathered around the occupation of fishing.
This is why most human settlements, whether small villages or megacities, are situated in close proximity to water sources. In addition to the importance of water for survival and a means of transport, it is also an important source of animal protein.
But this proximity has also led to severe ocean and coastal pollution caused by runoff and domestic and industrial activities carried out nearby. This has led to dwindling fish stocks in the vicinity, forcing fishermen to fish farther and farther away from their traditional locations.
Overfishing and mechanization have also resulted in a crisis in the sector due to unsustainable fishing, in addition to chronic sector problems such as intensive and illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing.
The covid-19 global pandemic has also strongly affected the fishing industry, which is adapting to the new reality and seeking solutions to face this crisis.
The pandemic limited the supply, consumption and revenue of companies. Due to restrictive measures, crews fished less and consumers changed their preferences such as stocking non-perishable food.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) warns that there could be a global drop in aquaculture of around 1.3%, the first annual decline in several years, due to the effects of the pandemic. Unless we address these issues collectively, the crisis will deepen.
World Fisheries Day helps highlight these problems and aims to find solutions to the increasingly interconnected problems we face.
According to data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations – FAO:
– Small-scale fishing (marine and inland) employs around 90 percent of people involved in fishing;
– 65 percent of reported inland fisheries catches are from low-income countries with food deficits;
– Estimates vary, but from around 30 million to more than 60 million people in the developing world are involved in inland fisheries; about 50 percent are thought to be women;
– More than 25% of the world’s dietary protein is provided by fish;
– The human population consumes more than 100 million tons of fish annually;
– More than 200 million people in Africa regularly consume fish and almost half of that comes from inland fisheries.
World Fisheries Day celebrations serve as an important reminder that we must focus on changing the way the world manages global fisheries to ensure sustainable stocks and healthy ocean ecosystems.
The United Nations General Assembly called on countries to become signatories of the Law of the Sea with regard to jurisdiction over national and international waters and to maintain sustainable fisheries.
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