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The world has observed an unprecedented rise in production, consumption and trade of fish during last three decades. Developing countries as a whole supply nearly 75% of the fish, and represent 50% of the value of global fish trade. At a time when receipts from traditional agricultural exports have been declining, export earnings from fish seem to be paying the food imports bills in many low-income food-deficient countries. While these trends are likely to continue to 2020, questions are being raised about the integrity of world’s oceans and fisheries, and the true role of fisheries in eliminating poverty and improving nutritional security of the poor. This paper reviews the changing structure of fish supply, demand and trade, and investigates the impact of fisheries practices on the natural environment, the crucial role of technology, and the role of policy at both national and international levels. The impact of changes can be most profound on the natural environment, and least beneficial to the poorest people in our world community due to the exclusion of the poor from property rights, technologies and markets; the rising price of lowvalue food fish to the poor, and the alarming rate of degradation of fisheries and the environment in developing countries. The complexities of food safety, and public health concerns in the importing countries, can dramatically affect market access by poor citizens in developing countries. Poverty reduction, inclusive development and environmental protection must become more central themes in the dialogue between advocates for the poor and for the environment, representatives of the fish industry, and political leaders and international policy- makers.


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