Aquatic Genetic Resources - A valuable and unexplored reserve of biodiversity for food and agriculture

The State of the World’s Aquatic Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

The State of the World’s Aquatic Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

FAO's Report on The State of the World's Aquatic Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (SoW-AqGR) is the first ever global assessment of the status of aquatic genetic resources.

The development of the Report was initiated in response to a call from the members of the FAO Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture to respond to the urgent need to build global knowledge and raise awareness on the main needs and challenges regarding the conservation, sustainable use and development of aquatic genetic resources. This global assessment is specifically focused on farmed aquatic species and their wild relatives within national jurisdiction.

For the compilation of the SoW-AqGR, FAO invited countries to nominate National Focal Points having the role to coordinate the gathering of information as well as prepare and submit their Country Reports. The Country Reports are based on the Questionnaire for the Preparation of Country Reports. Overall 92 countries responded to the questionnaire and submitted their information. These responding countries cover over 96 percent of global aquaculture production and over 80 percent of global capture fisheries production and include the top 11 major aquaculture producing countries.

Map of 92 reporting countries, by region

In addition to the Country Reports the SoW-AqGR also drew on five thematic background studies which were commissioned to address significant knowledge gaps in the following areas:

  1. Incorporating genetic diversity and indicators into statistics and monitoring of farmed aquatic species and their wild relatives
  2. Genome-based biotechnologies in aquaculture
  3. Genetic resources for farmed seaweeds
  4. Genetic resources for microorganisms of current and potential use in aquaculture
  5. Genetic resources for farmed freshwater macrophytes

An In Brief summary of the SoW-AqGR, targeted at policy makers, was prepared and published in all FAO languages and distributed widely. This overview of the main findings of the Report includes the most important needs and challenges that present and future generations will have to address in order to ensure that AqGR continue to support food security, poverty alleviation and sustainable development.