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An introduction to food security with an overview of supply and demand for fish and the FSA views on consumption of oily and non- oily fish. Outline of the requirement to increase aquaculture production. By Lee McDonough
Food security and the challenges
Cefas Workshop: Towards a sustainable finfish
aquaculture industry for England
13th October 2009
Deputy Director Marine Programme, Defra
• Overview of UK aquaculture
• Policy context: food security
• Policy drivers:
• The decline in capture fisheries
• Population growth
• Consumer interest
• Political interest
Overview of UK Aquaculture
• Most aquaculture activity is related to fish and shellfish
• The majority of existing food finfish aquaculture activity is located
in Scotland although it is increasing in areas of Wales and
England. Shellfish culture is spread more evenly throughout the
• In 2006, the farm gate value of fish farming in England and Wales
was estimated to be c£23.5 million, of which £13 million was
salmonids, 0.5 million other food fish and £10 million coarse fish
for re-stocking of fisheries and ornamental purposes. The value of
shellfish farming was estimated to be around £20 million.
Policy context: Food security
• The Government defines food security as:
“Ensuring the availability of, and access to, affordable, safe and
nutritious food sufficient for an active lifestyle, for all, at all times.”
• Need to look at sustainability and security together
• By any objective measure, we enjoy a high degree of food
security in the UK today. As a modern trading economy, the UK
enjoys a rich diversity of nutritious food from home and abroad,
so we have a vested interest in the sustainability of our food
wherever it comes from.
• UK food security assessment (August 2009) indicated that
overall the food supply was currently secure.
• However, one sector identified as "very unfavourable" and
showing no sign of improving is global fish stocks.
Policy driver: Decline in capture
• FAO has classified most wild fisheries as either fully exploited or over
• EU27 capture fisheries have declined over recent years, with the balance
of supplies coming from aquaculture production and from increased
• According to the FAO total world fisheries
United Kingdom Capture Production
(FAO Fishery Statistic) production was 92 million tonnes capture
fisheries, 51.7 million tonnes aquaculture
• Production increases came from the
aquaculture sector (now accounts for 47
percent of all fish consumed by humans as
Policy driver: Population growth
• UK population is forecast to grow to almost 71 million by
2035 (England accounts for c83% of UK population)
• FSA recommend two portions of fish pw. Majority of UK
population does not consume enough fish (particularly
• Assuming we did eat the right level,
for the projected increase in
population that’s an extra 20
million portions per week
Policy driver: Consumer interest
• Aquaculture could have an increasingly
important role in providing a protein source for
• Essential that consumers are well informed
about the role aquaculture plays both in providing a
continuing source of fish and shellfish and in the interaction it has
with the local and wider environment
• Consumers have experienced a long-term increase in the real
prices of fresh and frozen fish and this trend is likely to continue.
• Health benefits of fish consumption remains clear, with FSA
advising to eat two portions of fish a week. Need to balance this
with sustainable use of fisheries resources
• Consumer interest on sustainability peaked (e.g.. feed conversion
issues, highlighted in “The end of the line”)
Policy driver: Political interest
• Fisheries 2027: “... significant amount of the fish we eat is farmed and the
environmental impacts of aquaculture are acceptable.”
• UK food security assessment published in August 2009
• Efra committee’s report ‘Securing food supplies up to 2050: the challenges
faced by the UK’
• April 2009 the European Commission published Building a sustainable
future for aquaculture.
• European Fisheries Fund. €6.4 million potential funding for micro and
SMEs available in England United Kingdom Aquaculture Production
(FAO Fishery Statistic)
• 10 minutes not enough time to do justice to
• Fish and seafood is a large part of the
• Aquaculture has some advantages for the consumer, which
include: sustainability; safety; affordability and traceability.
However, there are perception/real issues to be overcome
e.g. FCR, bio-security, production methods and consumer
• Recognition that aquaculture has an important part to play in
meeting the needs of UK consumers for a sustainable supply
of fish and seafood.
Do we need a strategy?
• As a starting point, we need to find answers
to (at least!!) the following questions:
• What contribution can English aquaculture make to our food
• What should industry's role be?
• How important are retailers?
• What should government's role be?
• What are the opportunities (e.g..
Offshore, feedstuffs, biofuels)?
• What are the challenges?