Feed the Future
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This June, Agrilinks Dives Into Fisheries and Aquaculture

While Agrilinks often focuses on issues of terra firma, such as land tenure, soil degradation or agricultural productivity, the development community faces a similar set of challenges at sea. Fisheries today are in troubled waters; nearly a third of commercial fish stocks are now fished at dangerously unsustainable levels, according to the FAO. It isn’t just biodiversity at stake — it’s a critical source of food, nutrition and income, and foreign currency for developing economies on the line, as the below video from USAID depicts.



This June, Agrilinks is focusing on critical efforts to improve aquaculture and fishing practices globally, stem the tide of overfishing and other threats to biodiversity and incomes, and promote the role of fish consumption toward a well-nourished, food-secure population.

To kick off the month, we’d like to highlight some key resources from the archives, starting with "Sustainable Fisheries and Responsible Aquaculture: A Guide for USAID Staff and Partners." This comprehensive guide provides information on how to design programs to reform capture fisheries and aquaculture sectors to ensure environmental sustainability, economic profitability and social responsibility while contributing to broader development goals like improved governance and adaptation to climate change.

As USAID Coastal and Aquatic Resources Adviser Richard Volk wrote on Agrilinks when the guide was launched, “USAID’s experience has shown that well-designed programs can successfully reform capture fisheries and aquaculture, reducing threats to biodiversity while leading to increased productivity, incomes and livelihoods.”

Another key guide from USAID makes the case for “The Importance of Wild Fisheries for Food Security and Nutrition” and discusses opportunities from innovative financing mechanisms to market-based partnerships to improve fishery management by engaging the private sector. 
 
In countries like Ghana, fisheries indirectly support 20 percent of the workforce and represent 80 percent of the population’s animal protein consumption. Fisheries offer a low-cost, high-value food protein supply as discussed in Agrilinks’ event “Fish, Forks and Finance: The Importance of Wild Fisheries to Food and Job Security.” Resources on the event page showcase working solutions from projects implemented by nonprofits like Rare in coastal nations like Ghana and Mozambique, where overfishing jeopardizes hundreds of thousands of local jobs and a growing population and declining supply are projected to result in a 70 percent decrease in protein availability by 2030. Check out the recording to learn more about what is being done to help turn the tide.
 
As the most widely traded agricultural commodity in the developing world, fish are critical to the economies of developing nations and to the livelihoods of poor people from Africa to Asia and beyond. Aquaculture and fisheries also offer rich opportunities to diversify and boost women’s incomes. Women already play a key role in wild fisheries worldwide, making up 50 percent of people employed in wild fishing. As Barbara Best, Senior Coastal Resource Management and Policy Advisory for the Forestry and Biodiversity Office, discussed in Agrilinks’ 2016 AskAg event on wild fisheries, their roles range from harvesting wild fish and invertebrates through "gleaning" along shorelines, to processing and marketing fish and running fishing businesses.

Aquaculture plays a key nutritional role in many regions of the world. Join us as we explore this rapidly growing industry during the month of June!