The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture (SOFIA) 2022


The 2022 edition of The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture coincides with the launch of the Decade of Action to deliver the Global Goals, the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development and the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. It presents how these and other equally important United Nations events, such as the International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture (IYAFA 2022), are being integrated and supported through Blue Transformation, a priority area of FAO’s new Strategic Framework 2022–2031 designed to accelerate achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in food and agriculture.

The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2022 – FAO Report


Despite significant previous progress, the world is off track to end hunger and malnutrition in all its forms by 2030. This has elevated the calls to urgently transform our agrifood systems to ensure food security, improve nutrition and secure affordable healthy diets for a growing population, while safeguarding livelihoods and our natural resources. Aquatic foods are increasingly recognized for their key role in food security and nutrition, not just as a source of protein, but also as a unique and extremely diverse provider of essential omega-3 fatty acids and bioavailable micronutrients. Prioritizing and better integrating fisheries and aquaculture products in global, regional and national food system strategies and policies should be a vital part of the necessary transformation of our agrifood systems.

The 2022 edition of The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture – Towards Blue Transformation – builds on this narrative by presenting quantitative evidence of the growing role of fisheries and aquaculture in providing food, nutrition and employment. This report also highlights further changes needed in the fisheries and aquaculture sector to address the challenges of feeding the world effectively, equitably and sustainably.

Download and read the report here

Here are some of the main take aways of the report:

  • Larger volumes of commercially produced seafood are not overfished. More than 82% of fisheries landings by volume are from stocks considered by the FAO to be sustainably fished, an increase of nearly 4% compared to two years previous. As of 2020, this represents about 65 million tonnes from marine capture fisheries. This increase is largely driven by improvements in larger, higher volume fisheries, such as those that target anchoveta, pollock and tunas.
  • The number of monitored stocks that are considered overfished is increasing. The FAO monitors over 500 fish stocks across the globe, with widely varying abundances and catch sizes. Almost 35% of these stocks are now considered overfished, compared to only 10% of stocks in 1974.
  • Demand for sustainable seafood is increasing. The total amount of aquatic resources grown or harvested for human consumption (excluding algae) is now 157 million tonnes – a new record. Overall, the growth rate has been twice the rate of population growth since 1961 and consumption has now reached 20.2 kg per capita, more than double the consumption in the 1960s.
  • A call for a blue transformation. The FAO’s vision for improving aquatic food systems has three goals – sustainable aquaculture intensification and expansion, effective management of all fisheries, and upgraded food and value chains. If this is done effectively, aquatic food consumption is projected to grow to 25 kg per person per year by 2050, relieving the pressure on land-based food systems. But a failure to ensure sustainability will result in a reduction in per-capita consumption, adding pressure to other food systems as well as to food and nutrition security in countries highly dependent on seafood.
  • Utilization and processing of fisheries and aquaculture production have changed considerably in past decades. In 2020, 89 percent (157 million tonnes) of world production (excluding algae) was used for direct human consumption, compared with 67 percent in the 1960s. The remainder (over 20 million tonnes) was used for non-food purposes – the vast majority for fishmeal and fish oil, with the rest for ornamental fish, bait, pharmaceutical applications, pet food, and direct feeding in aquaculture and raising of livestock and fur animals.

You can find more information about the report here.

International Symposium on “Small Pelagic Fish: New Frontiers in Science for Sustainable Management” in Lisbon


The most important fish species used for production of fishmeal and fish oil in Europe are “Small Pelagic Fish” e.g. capelin, sandeel, blue whiting, sprat and Norway pout. All fisheries are strictly regulated and catch limitations are always based on scientific advice from ICES.

From 7 to 11 November 2022 an international symposium on “Small Pelagic Fish: New Frontiers in Science for Sustainable Management” will take place in Lisbon, Portugal. It will highlight the state-of-the-art in topics related to the ecology and sustainable management of SPF. The symposium complements collaborative research conducted by the joint ICES/PICES Working Group on Small Pelagic Fish and is relevant to the goals of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, particularly “to bolster scientific research for a sustainably harvested ocean ensuring the provision of food supply.”​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Small pelagic fish (SPF) account for more than 30% by weight of the total landings of marine capture fisheries around the world. SPF populations of both marine and inland ecosystems are crucial for ensuring global food security.​ SPF also play an important role in the transfer of energy in food ​webs through mid-trophic levels, so understanding processes affecting the dynamics of their populations, their role in marine ecosystems and how these shape robust management practices continue to be a high priority.

During the last four decades, coordinated, global research efforts have targeted these and other topics, yielding important comparative analyses and highlighting key gaps in our knowledge. For example, global analyses revealed oscillations in the productivity of SPF populations linked to climate variability on various (seasonal to multi-decadal) scales that have resulted in dramatic consequences for ecological and human communities. The exchange of information and ideas drawn from comparing populations across the globe can be particularly insightful as we seek to improve management strategies.

For more information and registration to the Symposium click here

UN Ocean Conference – Lisbon 2022


The 2nd UN Ocean Conference (UNOC), co-organized by Portugal and Kenya, took place in Lisbon, Portugal between the 27th of June  and the 1st of July. The aim of the Conference was to support the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 14) “Life Below Water” – to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. The 2nd UNOC focused on scaling up ocean action based on science and innovation for the implementation of SDG 14: stocktaking, partnership and solutions.

More than 6000 people from all around the world participated in the Conference including 24 Heads of States and 2000 representatives of civil society. Alexandra Philippe (Chair of the FG Climate Change) and Tamara Talevska (Executive Secretary) represented the NSAC at the Conference.

Here are some of the main take-aways:

  • The conference called for the expansion of Marine Protected Areas.  The commitment to protect 30% of the ocean by 2030 was pledged by more than 100 States, with some going even further.
  • A commitment to increase funding in ocean research and strengthen scientific and systematic observation and data collection.
  • “Blue transformation” – transforming aquatic food systems for a sustainable future to achieve food security and climate objectives through: (1) aquaculture expansion, (2) effectively managed fisheries (marine and inland), and (3) upgraded value chain.
  • Moving away from fossil fuels and decarbonizing the blue economy sectors were presented as the main solutions to tackle climate change and its consequences on the oceans.

EFFOP welcomes this strong focus on the oceans’ conservation and the recognition of the importance of the oceans to sustain a healthy and sustainable living.

You can learn more about the conference and its outcomes here.

Symposium on Optimization of Sustainable Fisheries in Copenhagen


Europen Fishmeal is partner in the MSE project and is co-hosting a scientific mini-symposium on “Optimizing Sustainable Fishing on Rebuilt Fish Stocks”.

Fish stocks in the North Atlantic are rebuilding and they compete for food and predate on each other. It is time to revisit what the optimal fishing pressure is. The technical basis are the so-called FMSY reference points.  Ways of including fish interactions (density dependence) in the current single species approach to management are considered. The so-called Surplus Production Models (SPM) will be a focus.

Dorothy Dankel, Chair of the Nordic Marine Think Tank, will be the facilitator of the event.

The symposium will take place on the 23rd of November 2022 at Axelborg, Axeltorv 3, Copenhagen V, Denmark.

Read the mini-symposium programme here

Register here to participate.