Portugal: FAO worried at recent 25pct increase in price of fish worldwide

he price of fish increased 25% worldwide between December 2021 and April 2022, a trend that extends to the entire food system but is “very worrying” for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

“We are very concerned about it,” FAO’s Director of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Manuel Barange, admitted during the presentation of the organisation’s SOFIA 2022 report at the UN Ocean Conference being held in Lisbon.

This increase in fish prices is “not unusual” as it is affecting the entire food system, but FAO acknowledged that it “puts pressure on consumers around the world”.

“It is very important for us not only to produce in a sustainable and equitable way, but also in an affordable way,” argued Manuel Barange, who recalled that 3 billion people, almost half the world’s population, cannot afford healthy food.

According to him, there is clear evidence that aquatic food is an important part of a healthy diet, which is why we must “ensure that production is accessible to all”.

For this, it is necessary to develop aquaculture at a “lower” cost, with “less intense” production needs, argued the FAO official, ruling out that the increase in prices could lead to more overfishing or illegal fishing.

“If management is good, it does not put pressure on resources,” he considered, giving examples such as the United States, with 92% of stocks with sustainable management, and New Zealand and Australia, with 85% and 86% of equal management, respectively.

“Even here, in Portugal and the northern coast of Spain,” 86% is under sustainable management, he added, insisting on the need to “ensure sustainable management of resources,” according to Manuel Barange.

The SOFIA 2022 report, presented today, concludes that the growth of aquaculture has led fisheries and aquaculture production to records and is therefore increasingly decisive to ensure food security and end hunger in the world.

The day was also marked by protests by NGOs and civil society to raise awareness of governments and private actors on the need for urgent action in defence of the oceans.