Food from the water – fisheries and aquaculture

Authored by: Frank Asche , James L. Anderson , Taryn M. Garlock

The Routledge Handbook of Agricultural Economics

Print publication date:  July  2018
Online publication date:  July  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138654235
eBook ISBN: 9781315623351
Adobe ISBN:


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Seafood is an increasingly important component of the global food system. Seafood provides essential nutrition and contributes to human health, food security, and livelihoods. The growing demand for seafood has put additional pressure on natural resources. In many cases, this demand coupled with weak or poorly executed fisheries management has resulted in overfishing and considerable waste. Traditional command-and-control strategies, such as gear constraints, seasonal closures, and total allowable catch limits, have been widely practiced in efforts to prevent overfishing and depletion of fish stocks. However, it was not until recently that rights-based systems were implemented in many fisheries around the world. In fisheries managed with well-designed rights-based systems, economic incentives are harnessed to largely eliminate problems associated with tragedy of the commons. Yet, rights-based systems remain controversial as there are possible social and community concerns, usually associated with distributional and equity issues. Over the last several decades, stagnation in the volume of seafood harvested from global wild fisheries has contributed to the rapid expansion of aquaculture along with technological advances, productivity growth, market development, and cost reduction. Aquaculture is now as important as wild capture fisheries in providing global seafood for human consumption and will likely continue to expand in the future. The growth of aquaculture is changing the seafood sector. It is having noticeable impacts on wild fisheries directly in the environment and through competition in the market.

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