Deputy Director of the FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Division, Audun Lem, virtually joined the FS501 Food, Environment, and Society course to speak about the current state of research and development on global fisheries. The discussion around the diminishment of wild capture fishing methods as replaced by aquaculture practices or farmed fishing was of particular interest to the students. Given the controversy of sustainability around these topics, the data presented proved highly intriguing to the class.

Our guest speaker highlighted the five central messages of the most up-to-date report on The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture (SOFIA), which the FAO publishes every two years; and further delved into the prominence of fish on the international market, noting that fish and seafood exports constitute more than the total sum for beef, pork, and poultry combined. Given their wide reach and nutritional importance, managing fish and their related industries is an integral part of the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly the Sustainable Development Goal 14.

International flow of fish and fish products

The guest speaker relayed a brief history of aquaculture, starting from its origins 2000 years ago in Asia, and remarking on its marked uptake in the 1970s in the western world. He noted that aquaculture is trending to become the dominant form of capture globally. The presentation was concluded with a preview of the International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture, beginning in 2022.

----Report by Michaela Colangelo, Graduate Student Assistant.