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Fish consumption rise, but at what price?

Global per capita fish consumption has risen to above 20 kilograms a year for the first time, thanks to stronger aquaculture supply and firm demand, record hauls for some key species and reduced wastage. But it’s not all good news, concludes the latest edition of FAO’s report The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture.

Almost a third (31.4%) of commercial fish stocks are now fished at biologically unsustainable levels – triple the level in 1974. More effective stock management is required.

Decreased fish landings in the Northwest Atlantic, where the annual catch is now less than half the level of the early 1970s, has helped populations of halibut, flounder and haddock show “signs of recovery”; although that is not yet the case for cod, the report noted.

Globally, fish provided 6.7% of all protein consumed by humans, as well as offering a rich source of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, calcium, zinc and iron.

Studies have suggested that replacing animal proteins, like beef and pork, with seafood could have significant benefits in terms of carbon emissions.