By Dipo Olowookere
A new report from WorldFish projects that fish production in ASEAN countries will reach 24% of global output by 2030. “Fish to 2050 in the ASEAN Region” says that policies to promote sustainable aquaculture expansion and law enforcement in fisheries management are critical to ensuring sustainable growth in both sectors.
For ASEAN countries, fish is a hugely important source of nutrition, also providing income, opening up employment opportunities and alleviating poverty. By volume, fish production is four times that of poultry and 20 times that of cattle in the ASEAN region.
Fish trade represents an important source of foreign currency earnings for many developing countries.
‘Fish to 2050 in the ASEAN Region’ produced in collaboration with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) shows that aquaculture is expected to supply more than half of the fish for consumption in the region.
“The presence of strong institutional networks and private sector investment has played an important role in supporting the development of the aquaculture sector.
“However investment in research is essential to advance sustainable aquaculture technologies to improve efficiency gains, reduce production costs and mitigate environmental risks,” says Michael Phillips, Director of Aquaculture and Fisheries Science, WorldFish. “In addition to continuing to support the rise of sustainable aquaculture in ASEAN and the Asian region, WorldFish aims to scale this learning in Africa, a region where aquaculture remains a huge opportunity for income, employment and food and nutrition security.”
The report concludes that future efforts to enhance national data within ASEAN will provide better foresight for fish sector policy development.
The rise of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries’ fish production can be attributed to the rapid growth of aquaculture in Southeast Asia and its large offshore fishing fleet. Fisheries and aquaculture are increasingly becoming a primary source of animal protein, micronutrients, foreign exchange, livelihoods and wellbeing for the population in the region.
The majority of fish production occurs in developing countries in the South where competition for natural resources is high. Future fish supply and demand in ASEAN faces a number of challenges, especially climate change, which will cause disruptions in ocean and aquatic ecosystems. Other global challenges such as increasing demand for fishmeal and fish oil and the associated price increases of fish will also become key drivers of change in technologies and management.
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