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Editorial: Food security and our seas

Rapid development and population growth is exacting a toll on our natural resources. Finding a balance between sustainable development and food security is becoming one of the challenges globally as agricultural lands are now giving way to commercial establishments and subdivisions.

Our seas, where we get one of the major sources of food, do not fare any better.

In a report “The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2016,” the Food and Agriculture Office of the United Nations showed that “global fish consumption per capita has reached record-high levels due to aquaculture and firm demand, with the average person now eating roughly 44 pounds of fish per year compared to only 22 pounds in the 1960s.”

Apart from over harvesting, the report from the Stockholm Environment Institute entitled “Valuing the Ocean” states that threats to the health and stability of the ocean include acidification, warming, hypoxia, sea level rise, pollution and the overuse of marine resources.

According to Greenpeace, more than 30 million Filipinos depend on these marine resources for survival. ‘But the very seas that provide them livelihood and subsistence are under serious threat. Important fragile marine ecosystems around the country are being destroyed at an alarming rate. Toxic chemical pollution from industries, human sewage and plastic garbage from cities suffocate what were once pristine waters.

We echo the call of Greenpeace and urge the newly elected government officials to craft laws and implement existing laws that will ensure the protection, rehabilitation, and conservation of our seas are a national priority; and to create and immediately implement  a roadmap that eliminates overfishing and allows the recovery of fish stocks.

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