Citation Norman R, Crumlish M & Stetkiewicz S (2019) The importance of fisheries and aquaculture production for nutrition and food security. Revue Scientifique et Technique - Office International des Epizooties, 38 (2), pp. 395-407. https://doi.org/10.20506/rst.38.2.2994
Abstract Aquatic food has a significant role to play in global nutrition and food security but is often ignored in that debate. Understanding its potential role is made difficult by the fact that aquatic food covers a large number of species which come from both capture fisheries and aquaculture and the marine and freshwater environments, including finfish, crustacea, molluscs, echinoderms, aquatic plants and other aquatic animals. Further complications arise from the fact that both supply and consumption vary significantly between countries.
There are several criteria which need to be considered when discussing nutrition and food security. These include: how much food is produced, whether that production is sustainable, whether the production supports livelihoods, what the nutritional content of the food is and whether that food is safe. The authors conclude that there are many benefits to aquatic food under each of these criteria but there are also some hurdles which need to be overcome. Increased production to feed a growing global population relies on the growth of aquaculture. Limitations to such growth include the supply of raw ingredients for aquafeeds, losses due to disease outbreaks, being able to ensure high standards of food safety and overcoming environmental limitations to expansion. There are also problems with welfare conditions for people working in the supply chain which need to be addressed.
Given the challenges to nutrition and food security which the world is currently facing, it is essential that aquatic food is brought into the debate and the significant benefits that aquatic foods provide are acknowledged and exploited.