Pesca continental

The Rome Declaration: Ten Steps to Responsible Inland Fisheries

Governance & policy

Inland fish and their fisheries serve important nutritional, economic, cultural, and recreational roles and are key components of sustainable ecosystem function throughout the world. Particularly in developing countries, inland fisheries are a vital source of protein, essential fatty acids, minerals, and micronutrients for hundreds of millions of people. Fifty-nine Low-Income Food-Deficit Countries produce 80%—nearly 7 million tonnes—of reported global inland capture fisheries output. More than 60 million people in the developing world work with various aspects of inland fisheries, and women represent more than half of this workforce3 . Inland fisheries often provide riparian communities with a sense of identity, cultural recognition, and in some areas, spiritual and religious connections to the world and to their ancestors. In many developed countries, and increasingly in developing countries, inland fish support recreational fisheries which enjoy high levels of public participation and contribute to local, regional, and national economic prosperity and human well-being. Global attention on the depletion of fisheries has focused predominately on marine fish stocks despite the importance of freshwater fisheries around the world. Inland fisheries are often underappreciated and undervalued in agricultural, land-use, and water resource planning and decision-making. More attention is often placed on meeting demands for competing uses of freshwaters such as hydroelectric development, agriculture, and industry. Inland fisheries will only be appropriately considered in decision-making and governance processes if the full range of their economic, social and environmental values are understood and effectively conveyed. Decision makers need timely and accurate information on the status of inland fish production, and on the economic, nutritional and societal contributions freshwater fisheries make to society. There is a growing body of evidence that inland fisheries are significant contributors to nutrition, food security, livelihoods and rural economies in many developing countries and have significant value in developed countries. However, this information is not complete at national and global levels and is often not included in policy discussions. Globally, the lack of information is evident by the low number of countries reporting inland capture fisheries production to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Of the 147 countries and territories which have some inland water capture fishery production, 96 reported their inland water catches to FAO while for 51 countries the total was estimated by FAO as they did not submit information on their inland water catches5 . Obtaining accurate information on inland fisheries production is inherently a difficult process because most fisheries are small-scale, highly dispersed, and their catch often unreported to governmental agencies. Similarly, considerable numbers of fish caught in recreational fisheries are seldom reported. The lack of regular data reporting prevents analyses of trends in and performance of inland fisheries and therefore limits development of effective policies.

To address these issues, FAO in partnership with Michigan State University convened a global conference, Freshwater, Fish and the Future in Rome, 2015. This policy brief describes 10 steps derived from the conference that will help ensure responsible inland fisheries for future generations