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Fisheries resources from the oceans, rivers, and lakes are important sources of food for people in developing countries. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), fish and fishery products constitute more than 20% of animal protein intake in many developing countries. In addition, the fisheries sector plays an important role in terms of providing a valuable means of livelihoods for the most vulnerable populations, such as women-headed households and those people who do not possess production assets. Developing countries account for 54% of the world's exports of fishery products in value terms and 60% in volume terms (2012), making this industry vital for the economies of developing countries to earn foreign currency. As of 2014, world fisheries and aquaculture production is 167 million tons. However, the capture production from marine waters reached a peak in the 1990s, and it is believed that these resources have been almost fully exploited since then. In recent years, stagnant capture production has been supplemented by rapidly growing aquaculture production, which now accounts for 40% of total fisheries production. Yet, the aquaculture industry today is still highly dependent on capture fishery production for feed and seed, which may constrain further growth in the sector. There are also concerns that some forms of aquaculture are prone to cause negative impacts on coastal ecosystems. Therefore, it is a key challenge for developing countries to effectively preserve and manage fisheries resources and ecosystems while ensuring the sector's contributions to social objectives such as sustainable development and poverty reduction.


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