Inland fisheries around the world – and the people who depend on them for food, livelihoods, and well-being – need international cross-sectoral action to improve the sustainability of freshwater aquatic resources, according to recommendations supported last week at the Committee on Fisheries (COFI) meeting at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Rome. “The Rome Declaration: Ten Steps to Responsible Inland Fisheries” synthesizes the results of a 2015 international conference of nearly 250 experts from more than 40 countries. A side event also launched the publication of the conference proceedings book, Freshwater, Fish and the Future, co-published by FAO, Michigan State University (MSU), and the American Fisheries Society.
Freshwater fish provide food, livelihoods, and ecosystem services to millions of people, especially in low-income countries, yet their value is generally not adequately considered in water use, energy, and development decisions. Freshwater fisheries around the world may appear to be very different, but their value to local communities and the threats to their sustainability are often similar.
“As outlined in FAO’s latest report on the State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture, the challenges facing local inland fisheries – for example, competition for water, dams and diversions that interfere with fish migration, and a changing climate – are global and found in developed and developing countries alike,” said Árni Mathiesen, Assistant Director-General Fisheries and Aquaculture Department, FAO.
The challenges to inland fisheries are also critical to the 60 million people who rely on freshwater fish for livelihoods – over half of whom are women. Fish is also an essential source of protein and other nutrients that cannot easily be replaced with other food sources.
“Rivers in Asia, Africa, and South America provide fish that serve as a major food source for millions of people,” said June Pierce Youatt, Provost, MSU. “These are not people who have the option to buy alternative nutritious foods at the local markets – they live in rural communities in some of the poorest nations on earth and rely on ready access to a plentiful supply of fish.”
FAO and MSU are collaborating to bring greater awareness of the value and sustainability challenges of inland fisheries around the world. With the publication of the proceedings and the Rome Declaration’s ten recommendations, the next step is regional implementation. FAO is working on updating the global state of inland fishery resources and developing new projects. MSU is joining this effort with faculty positions, internships, a visiting scholars and immersive experience program, and an upcoming online course on inland fisheries that will be available to students throughout the world.
“The Rome Declaration is bringing new attention to both the value and vulnerability of this resource,” Youatt said. “MSU is proud to partner with FAO to work on an issue with so many global and cross-sectoral implications, such as nutrition security, water use, blue growth, development and ecosystem services.”
THE “ROME DECLARATION”: TEN STEPS TO RESPONSIBLE INLAND FISHERIES
- Improve the assessment of biological production to enable science-based management
- Correctly value inland aquatic systems
- Promote the nutritional value of inland fisheries
- Develop and improve science-based approaches to fishery management
- Improve communication among freshwater users
- Improve governance, especially for shared waterbodies
- Develop collaborative approaches to cross-sectoral integration in development agendas
- Respect equity and rights of stakeholders
- Make aquaculture an important ally
- Develop an action plan for global inland fisheries
For more information, read the full Rome Declaration at the FAO website. The proceedings are available for online download from FAO and print copies of the proceedings book are available from the American Fisheries Society. See photos from the book launch side event.
We invite you to the launch of the FAO/Michigan State University/American Fisheries Society publication of Freshwater, Fish and the Future, the proceedings of the 2015 Global Conference on Inland Fisheries. We will also introduce the Ten Steps to Responsible Inland Fisheries, which are the synthesized recommendations of the conference.
Hors d’oeuvres and refreshments will be served, courtesy of Michigan State University (MSU).
THURSDAY, JULY 14
18:00 – 20:00
AVENTINO ROOM (8TH FLOOR)
- June Pierce Youatt, Provost, MSU
- Árni Mathiesen, Assistant Director-General Fisheries and Aquaculture Department, FAO
- Steven Hanson, Dean for International Studies and Programs, MSU
- William Taylor, Distinguished Professor in Global Fisheries Systems, MSU
- Devin Bartley, Robin Welcomme Scholar, MSU
- Master of Ceremonies, Simon Funge-Smith, Senior Fishery Resources Officer, FAO
A GLOBAL INLAND FISHERIES PARTNERSHIP
FAO and MSU are collaborating to bring greater awareness of the value and sustainability challenges of inland fisheries around the world. Freshwater fish provide food, livelihoods, and ecosystem services to millions of people, especially in low-income countries, yet their value is not adequately considered in water use, energy, and development decisions.
With the publication of the proceedings and ten steps recommendations, the next step is regional implementation planning. FAO is working on updating the global state of inland fishery resources and developing projects. MSU is supporting this effort with faculty positions, internships, a visiting scholars and immersive experience program, and an upcoming online course on inland fisheries that will be available to students from around the world.
A new report from UN FAO, prepared for The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) project by UNEP, estimates the value of three major freshwater fish production systems and aquatic ecosystems: the Columbia River in North America, the Lower Mekong Basin in southeast Asia, and the Lake Victoria Basin in Africa. This study focused on the role inland capture fisheries and freshwater aquaculture production systems play in the supply of these services, regardless of their form, scale, and intensity. The study encompasses all freshwater aquatic environments such as lakes, reservoirs, rivers and streams, and other wetlands (e.g., swamps, floodplains), whether they are man-made (e.g., reservoirs) or natural (e.g., unregulated rivers). The report is available at: http://www.teebweb.org/agriculture-and-food/inland-fisheries/.
A video abstract summarizes a new paper in Environmental Reviews by several Global Conference on Inland Fisheries organizers and participants, “The Social, Economic, and Environmental Importance of Inland Fish and Fisheries.”
Participants at the Global Conference on Inland Fisheries in Rome in January shared their perspectives on the value of inland fisheries around the world.
All Plenary presentation PowerPoint slides are now available for online viewing, along with the Review Papers and Oral Presentations by theme (Biological Assessment, Economic and Social Assessment, Drivers and Synergies, and Policy and Governance). You can also watch video recordings of the Plenary presentations and General Sessions (Day One, Day Two, Day Three).
Now available: All photos from the Global Conference on Inland Fisheries.
(To download the high resolution version, click the small download arrow by the lower right corner of each photo.)
At the Global Conference on Inland Fisheries in Rome, Michigan State University President Lou Anna K. Simon discusses the memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to cooperate on inland fisheries programs.
Watch the opening day at the conference live at http://bit.ly/1rNcxCt and follow on Twitter with #infish.