Fisheries and aquaculture

© FAO/13488/I. De Borhegyi

Fisheries and aquaculture play an important role for food security, nutrition and poverty reduction. Over 700 million people depend directly or indirectly on fisheries and aquaculture for their livelihoods. Globally, fish provides 3.2 billion people with 20% or more of average per capita animal protein intake – and in some countries this is over 50%. Fish is rich in mictronutrients generally not found in staple foods and vital to the diet of many people I developing countries, especially in poor and food-deficit countries.
Most fishers and fish farmers operate on a small-scale and are vulnerable to a wide-range of threats. Many living in coastal areas and exposed to natural disasters, a risk that is increasing with and compounded by climate change.
Climate change impacts, such as warming of oceans, rivers and lakes and changes in precipitation, water salinity and ocean acidity as well as the increases in extreme weather events, will increase uncertainties in the supply of fish from capture fisheries and aquaculture. The availability of food will vary, positively and negatively, resulting from changes in habitats, stocks and species distribution in inland, coastal and marine ecosystems. More frequent long-term fluctuations in marine environments, such as those induced by El Niño events and increases in extreme weather events will impact stability of supply. Climate change-induced increased risks of species invasions and spreading of vector-borne diseases may threaten food quality. However, new opportunities and positive impacts (e.g. from changes in species and new markets) will also be part of future changes.


FAO’s activities aim to address climate change adaptation and mitigation in the fisheries and aquaculture sector, all of which are guided by a strategy framework that focus on policy development, knowledge building and exchange, promoting standards and practical demonstrations and include:

  • Contribute to the knowledge base for local, national and international policy development for climate change and fisheries & aquaculture,
  • Raise awareness of the importance of the sector, especially with respect to climate change mitigation and adaptation
  • Assist the development of national and regional climate change and food security strategies, priorities and policies at the global, regional and national levels
  • Support and promote cross-sectoral - technical, social, political, legal and institutional - coordination, partnerships and cooperation
  • Develop guidelines to promote ecosystem approaches to fisheries and aquaculture
  • Promote best practices and strengthen capacity building and lesson learning
  • Mobilize resources to support prioritized actions. 


Climate-Smart Agriculture Sourcebook 24 July 2013 There has been a rapid uptake of the term Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) by the international community, national entities and local institutions, in the past years. However, implementing this approach is challenging, partly due to a lack of tools and experience. Climate-smart interventions are highly location-specific and knowledge-intensive. Considerable efforts are required to develop the knowledge and capacities to make CSA a reality. The purpose of the sourcebook is to further elaborate the concept of CSA and demonstrate its potential, as well as its limitations. This sourcebook is a reference tool for planners, practitioners and policy makers working in agriculture, forestry and fisheries at national and subnational levels, dealing with the effects of climate change. [#print("more")]
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last updated:  Thursday, October 17, 2013