Re: HLPE consultation on the V0 draft of the Report: The Role of Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture for Food Security and Nutrition

Alexandre Meybeck UNEP Sustainable Food Systems Program, Italy
30.12.2013

Dear HLPE Coordinator,

This draft and relative consultation are extremely welcome, especially as they give the opportunity to non fish specialists to consider fisheries and aquaculture in their relation to broader food security and sustainability.

In that respect this draft provides very usefull information and analysis. I also note that, given the topic, it provides an opportunity for much more specific discussions on nutrition than in previous reports.

It could still benefit from some aspects being more targetted to non fish specialists.

Two areas would, in that perspective, deserve more explanation:
- the Fisheries crisis p 29
- the Fisheries governance p 69. In particular some clear analysis for the layman on the way fish rights are determined and attributed, including at international level, what about quotas and transferable quotas.

The draft contains some preliminary thinking around the relations between sustainability and food security. It would very much benefit from a more structured approach in the introduction to the relations between the topic and the 4 dimensions of food security. A very good example of such an analysis is the introduction of the HLPE report on biofuels and food security. This would enable to better tacle the difficult question of the articulation of the 3 dimensions of sustainability (to which could be added governance) with the 4 dimensions of FS. This seems all the more important in relation with the notion of Sustainable Food Systems, considered in the other on going HLPE report.

In fact it could broaden the perspective of the report towards the contribution of Fisheries and Aquaculture to Sustainable Food Systems.

A key here could be a more structured approach to the notion of resource efficiency (see for instance section 2 of the paper on Ressources and Food Security prepared for the Food Security Futures and  accessible in a draft form at
http://www.pim.cgiar.org/files/2013/01/FoodSecurityandSustainableResourceUse2.pdf).

Two points seem to me of particular relevance here:
- the comparisons made on contributions of various fisheries and aquaculture systems in terms of jobs (direct and indirect), income, nutrition...
- the efficiency of aquaculture to provide animal protein as compared to other forms of animal breeding (better efficiency to transform calories, less GHG emissions...). This is particularly important given the projected increased demand for animal products and actual needs in some regions. On top of course, as very well underlined in the draft are potential added benefits in terms of micronutrients.

In the same perspective it would be of value to add more on the relations of fisheries and aquaculture with other agricultural activities; particularly on integrated systems (such as rice/fish for instance) and on competition between sectors for land and especially water -for instance impact of irrigation on inland fisheries.

Finally, as the demand seems to be very much driven by rich consumers, this aspect would deserve to be properly considered in chapter 6 on prospective. The notion of Sustainable diets could be of interest here. Another point to be developed would certification and ecolabelling and the way they could benefit to sustainability (including social dimensions and potential impacts on small scale fisheries and aquaculture).

The recommendations could include the need to better integrate consideration of fisheries and aquaculture in broader strategies and plans for food security and/or agriculture as well as in some specific policy tools such as the NAPA s (National Adaptation Plans of Action) in the climate change area.

Best regards

Alexandre Meybeck
FAO/UNEP Sustainable Food Systems Program.