From: Reuters
Published March 8, 2005 12:00 AM

World Fish Stocks Strained, U.N. Says

ROME — World stocks of most fish, including Atlantic herring and capelin, are stretched to their limits and nearly a quarter are already over-exploited, a United Nations agency said on Monday.


The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation issued the grim snapshot of world fisheries in a biannual report that warned of increased pressure on stocks since 2002 that was unsustainable amid rising consumption.


Fifty-two percent of world fish stocks were fully exploited, compared with 47 percent in 2002, it said.


The report's release was timed to coincide with a meeting on fisheries and aquaculture in Rome by representatives of more than 50 nations.


"Stock depletion has implications for food security and economic development, reduces social welfare in countries around the world and undermines the well being of underwater ecosystems," Ichiro Nomura, FAO Assistant Director General for Fisheries said.


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FAO forecast total world consumption of fish may increase by more than 25 percent to 179 million tonnes by 2015, underscoring the urgent need to rebuild depleted stocks.


It said seven of the top 10 marine fish species are already fully exploited or over-exploited, including Chilean jack mackerel, Alaska pollock, Japanese anchovy and blue whiting.


"Serious biological and economic drawbacks are likely if fishing capacity for these stocks is further increased," it said.


FAO said regions with fish stocks in the greatest need for recovery included the Northeast Atlantic, Black Sea and the Southeast Pacific.


Eight percent of world fish stocks were depleted or recovering from depletion, compared with 10 percent in 2002, FAO said.


Source: Reuters


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