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Page added on February 11, 2010

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Sustainable fisheries needed for global food security

DURHAM, N.C. — Increased aid from developed countries, earmarked specifically for sustainable seafood infrastructure in developing countries, could improve global food security, according to a policy paper by an international working group of 20 economists, marine scientists and seafood experts in the Feb. 12 issue of Science.

Seafood is a significant source of protein for nearly 3 billion people and is the planet’s most highly traded food commodity, contributing to the livelihoods of more than 560 million people. But a lack of coordinated policy threatens global seafood supplies.

To help safeguard future supply, “the price of seafood has to reflect the cost of maintaining ecosystem health in the countries that capture or farm most of it,” says Martin D. Smith, lead author of the paper and associate professor of environmental economics at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment. “Many imports are coming from developing countries that are not necessarily well-positioned to manage their resources sustainably.”

“In an ideal world, each country governs its own resources well and the seafood trade contributes to worldwide economic growth and food security,” Smith says. “But that’s not the world we live in right now.” Developing countries may produce more seafood than they can consume, exporting it and using the earnings to purchase other foods, goods or services.

Eurekalert



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