Food production is only one of the factors we must take into account: access to markets, commodity prices, and the nutritional value of products are equally important. Since 2008, high food price volatility has worsened the situation, leading to a significant deterioration of food security in the world.
The latest data, published last Friday by OECD and FAO, shows that, over the next ten years, “real prices for cereals could average as much as 20% higher and those for meats as much as 30% higher, compared to 2001-10″.
I am very well aware that fisheries play a crucial role in this context particularly in some developing countries. Fisheries – and in particular small-scale fisheries – allow local fishermen to satisfy their subsistence needs, and engage in trade. Fish is often the best complement in nutritional terms to the basic diet of many poor people, providing more than 1.5 billion people with almost 20 percent of their average per capita intake of animal protein, and 3 billion people with at least 15 percent of such protein.
We do need to continue including fisheries in the fight against hunger and malnutrition. But it is not easy. Now we are facing the significant challenge of ensuring sustainability: many fish stocks have substantially decreased in size, due to overfishing and are now below safe biological limits. This is the contradiction we have to handle through the upcoming reform of our Common Fisheries Policy. We’ll have to ensure exploitation of resources that achieves and maintains healthy and productive stocks and promote sustainable aquaculture development.
This basic objective is equally valid for fisheries worldwide, and I intend to step up the action and role of the EU in promoting sustainable fishing in all relevant international bodies, as well as through bilateral fisheries partnership with third countries.
In these ways we are protecting the livelihood of fishing communities and contributing to sustainable global food security.