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New research suggests that rising prices are likely to drive fish out of the reach of growing numbers of poor people who rely on the sea for their protein.

The report, by agricultural economists in Penang, Malaysia and in Washington DC, models fish supply and demand to 2020. Under the most likely scenario, it says, prices for salmon and other high-value fish would rise 15 per cent, and prices for cheaper fish such as milkfish and carp would increase by 6 per cent.

But some analysts believe that the study's sobering projections — presented last week at the launch of a global research initiative on fisheries science and policy — might in fact be too optimistic.

Reference: Science 298, 1154 (2002)

Photo credit: United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization

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