Lake Victoria was once inhabited by more than 500 species of endemic cichlids.

The International Center for Living Aquatic Resources Management (WorldFish) and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on Wednesday agreed to boost their efforts to build the resilience of fishers and small-scale fish farmers, promote sustainable aquaculture, and improve fish value chains arounf the world.

The partnership will harness the power of research in fisheries, aquaculture and fish value chains to improve programmes and policies for the benefit of millions of fishers and fish farmers belonging to some of the world’s poorest communities.

Worldwide, nearly 60 million people (14 per cent of them women) are directly employed in the fisheries and aquaculture sector.

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Launched this week, the latest edition of FAO’s ‘The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture’ report projects that by 2030 combined production from capture fisheries and aquaculture will grow to 201 million tonnes.

That is an 18 percent increase over the current production level of 171 million tonnes. But future growth will require continued progress in strengthening fisheries management regimes, reducing loss and waste, and tackling problems like illegal fishing, pollution of aquatic environments, and climate change, the report adds.

“FAO and WorldFish are natural partners with highly complementary objectives and a common goal of ensuring food security and access to fish from sustainable food systems,” said Árni Mathiesen, FAO Assistant Director-General, Fisheries and Aquaculture.

“This partnership is a fantastic opportunity to enhance the impact of fish on the well-being of millions of consumers, producers and fishery-dependent people worldwide. It combines WorldFish’s research skills and experience with FAO’s policy-making capacity for greater impact,” said Gareth Johnstone, Director General of WorldFish.

The partnership will focus on: enhancing the role of fish in improving people’s food security, nutrition and livelihoods;

providing policy advice to countries and to drive high-level dialogue on fishery and aquaculture developments; support countries to develop projects and programmes in sustainable aquaculture, small-scale fisheries and fish value chains.

Initiatives will have a global and a regional reach, with a particular focus on Asia – the region with the most fishers and fish farmers, representing 85 per cent of the people employed in fisheries and aquaculture worldwide.

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