Fishing for food supply answers

Small-scale fisheries and aquaculture are often overlooked by policy and decision makers, despite providing livelihoods for more than 100 million people and sustenance for a billion worldwide.

And while much of the benefits of the encouraging such enterprises would be enjoyed in developing countries, Scotland could also gain from placing more importance on the aquaculture sector, according to a major international study just published.

Professor Dave Little, of the University of Stirling’s Institute of Aquaculture, who contributed to the study on the “blue food revolution”, highlighted some of the benefits which fish, shellfish and algae enterprises offered for global development if the right policies and investments were put in place:

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“Small-scale fisheries and aquaculture provide 90 percent of the jobs in the sector and two-thirds of all fish and shellfish destined for human consumption. Despite their contributions, they are often overlooked and unsupported by policies.”

Little said that during the COVID-19 pandemic, they had played a key role in local food security and livelihoods – and in countries like Kenya small-scale actors quickly filled the gap left behind by larger, international producers who scaled back operations.

“And in Scotland, although much attention is focussed on the billion-pound salmon export industry, which does support over 8,000 jobs, the potential of small-scale aquaculture to feed and provide livelihoods for rural and remote communities should not be overlooked.”

Also pointing to the ecological and health benefits offered by developing blue foods, the report found that few, if any, countries were developing the sector sufficiently to provide the multi-faceted benefits offered to their full potential.

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