Mekong is Biggest Source of Global Inland Fish Catch: FAO

The Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations has ranked the Mekong Basin as the world’s most important hydrologic region or river basin for freshwater fish catches.

In its latest State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture report, the FAO said the Mekong Basin accounted for 15.2 percent of the global inland fish catch.

Released in Rome last week, the report — compiled every two years — said 50 percent of the global catch came from the Mekong and six other basins.

These are the Nile Basin in Africa (9.7 percent), the Ayeyarwady Basin in China and Myanmar (7.8 percent), the Yangtze Basin in China (6.8 percent), the Brahmaputra Basin in China, India and Bangladesh (5.5 percent), the Amazon Basin in South America (4.3 percent) and the Ganges Basin in India and Bangladesh (3.5 percent).

The Mekong Basin is spread across Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.

“Some of the world’s largest inland fisheries come from basins or river systems that are facing severe threats from anthropogenic and natural environmental pressures,” the FAO said.

“However, there is limited or no routine monitoring of the status of capture fisheries in most of these basins.”

The 206-page report said 37 countries indicated rising  inland fish production between 2007 and 2016, representing 58.7 percent of the global catch.

“The major drivers of this trend were China, India, Cambodia, Indonesia, Nigeria, the Russian Federation and Mexico,” it said.

Twenty-eight countries reported falling production over the same period. These represented 5.9 percent of the world’s inland catch, with the trend driven by Brazil, Thailand, Vietnam and Turkey.

The FAO noted that all four countries had “significant” aquaculture production.

But “inland fisheries remain extremely important at the subnational level in these countries” — notably those in the Mekong and the Amazon basins.

“Hence, this decline should not be a cause for complacency,” the report said.

Neither Laos nor Myanmar were included in the analysis.

The FAO report said global catches from inland waters have increased steadily year on year, reaching more than 12 million tonnes in 2018, the highest level recorded.

China accounted for the biggest share of catches from inland waters in 2018 followed by India, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Cambodia, the UN agency said.

In a separate report released last week, the agency  forecast that total production from both marine and inland catches as well as aquaculture would fall 1.7 percent to 172.9 million tonnes in 2020.

The FAO’s twice-yearly Food Outlook said capture fisheries production was expected to fall 2.0 percent to about 90 million tonnes. Production from aquaculture is forecast to drop 1.4 percent to around 83 million tonnes.

A breakdown of inland and marine catches wasn’t available.

Of the total output from capture fisheries and aquaculture, 63.2 million tonnes worth more than $50 billion are expected to be traded internationally.

The outlook said 154.2 million tonnes of total fish production was forecast to be consumed by humans this year with 15.0 million tonnes used as animal feed.

The remaining 3.7 million tonnes are expected to be used elsewhere — in the ornamental fish trade, for example.

 

Source: Agency Kampuchea Press