The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has called for an urgent coordinated action to restore the health of the world’s oceans and secure the long-term well-being and food security of a growing global population.

That was a key message of an international summit on oceans’ role for global food security that took place in The Hague, the Netherlands from April 22-25.

The Global Oceans Action Summit for Food Security and Blue Growth aimed to bring global attention and increased investment into addressing the three key threats to ocean health and food security: overfishing, habitat destruction and pollution.

Healthy oceans have a central role to play in solving one of the biggest problems of the 21st century – how to feed 9 billion people by 2050, an FAO representative said at the event.

On average, 17 percent of global animal protein intake comes from fisheries and aquaculture, and demand for fish protein is expected to double in the next 20 years, yet some 28 percent of global stocks are already overfished, according to FAO.

The four-day event drew over 500 delegates, including ministers, CEOs and leaders from civil society.

It focused on some of the underlying causes that had led to the overfishing, increased marine pollution and loss of critical habitat as well as potential solutions. Delegates also dealt with blue growth, emphasising conservation and sustainable management of aquatic resources and equitable benefits to the coastal communities that rely on them.

Hosted by the Government of the Netherlands, the Summit was co-organised by the World Bank, FAO and the governments of Grenada, Indonesia, Mauritius, Norway and the United States of America.-VNA