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In addition to striving to meet the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, the global community is also grappling with other pressing and complex challenges such as the widespread economic crisis and the effects of climate change. It is in this context that this edition of The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture highlights the vital role of fisheries and aquaculture in both food and nutrition security as well as economic expansion. The sector remains a major supplier of high-quality animal protein and supports the livelihoods and well-being of more than ten percent of the world’s population. International trade in fish has reached new peaks as overall production has continued to rise. Yet, as the document underlines, an array of problems – ranging from the need for more effective governance to that of ensuring environmental sustainability – threatens to undermine the sector’s valuable contribution to alleviating hunger and reducing poverty.

Using the latest available statistics on fisheries and aquaculture, this edition presents a global analysis of the sector’s status and trends. It also examines broader related issues such as gender, emergency preparedness and the ecosystem approach to fisheries and aquaculture. Selected highlights, from ecolabelling and certification to the effects of fisheries management policies on fishing safety, provide insights on specific topics. Finally, the document looks at the opportunities and difficulties for capture fisheries in the coming decades.

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