On 8 June, World Oceans Day will be celebrated worldwide to emphasize their importance in our daily lives. FAO in North Africa and Near-East will join the global celebration by proposing a specific event on the necessary Blue Transformation of aquatic food systems.
Healthy oceans are more important than ever. Oceans host 80 percent of all biodiversity, provide food, nutrients, and as fish are among the most widely traded food commodities, provides important sources of income. Despite the common need for healthy oceans, they are under great pressure, not least with overexploitation, illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, marine pollution and ocean acidification.
FAO is working with countries and partners across the world to ensure oceans, seas and marine resources are used sustainably for the benefit of present and future generations, and is responsible for binding and non-binding instruments negotiated with member countries that can help achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14. As the custodian agency for four SDG 14 indicators, FAO also provides countries with information on optimum levels of fishing, aquaculture, and fair and secure access to living aquatic resources and markets.
Fish products, from both marine but also inland origin, are essential in the fight against hunger and poverty. Growing consumption globally, and in the global south, means that fish must be better included in food security and nutrition strategies in the context of sustainable and transformative food systems.
The Blue Transformation is a new process which acknowledges the major changes that aquatic food have gone through in the past decades, and proposes a strategy and roadmap to build sustainable aquatic food systems. Between 1995 and 2019, aquaculture production has increased by 250 percent, fish trade by more than 300 percent and per capita fish consumption by 37%. The Blue Transformation provides a new narrative that recognizes fish unique benefits for food and nutrition security, livelihoods & trade, as well as cultural & social values to gel societies together. A narrative that acknowledges successes while facing head on sustainability challenges.