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Sub-Saharan Fish Trade and Nutrition in a Changing Climate

Fish for 2030 - Fish Nutrition of the poor in a changing sub-Saharan climate; Fish trade in a changing climate
Project leader
Charlie Crissman
2 Aug 2010
30 Sep 2011

Ghana, West Africa
There is an increasing ‘fish gap’ in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), where fish supplies have failed to keep pace with the region’s growing demand. Despite the high dependence on fish for nutrition in much of the region, consumption is currently half the global average and declining.
In SSA, as in many other regions globally, marine and inland capture fisheries resources are stagnating or decreasing, largely due to environmental or ecosystem changes and over-exploitation. Climate change is already altering the distribution of fish stocks and rainfall patterns upon which these fisheries depend. At the same time, globalization has favoured developing country exports of high-value fish.

Attracting the attention of decision-makers

Under current and projected poverty scenarios, closing the ‘gap’ and meeting the food and nutritional needs of poor consumers in SSA is a significant policy and development challenge. Regional policy-makers could make better informed decisions to help alleviate this situation if information about the supply and demand relationships of low value fish, as well as the nutritional value of this protein source, were better understood.
To draw the attention of decision-makers to the emerging problem, and to determine the appropriate actions to improve supply, the linkages between supply and demand and food security from fish need to be assessed and scenarios for the future supply (including possible shortfalls) of fish to consumers in SSA need to be examined.

Creating a framework for the future

Two linked WorldFish studies, "Fish to 2030 - Fish Nutrition of the poor in a changing sub-Saharan climate" and "Fish trade in a changing climate", are addressing this policy challenge by answering two key questions.
  1. How will changes in availability and price of fish affect the consumption and nutrition of vulnerable groups (such as low income households, women in female-headed households and other groups prone to food insecurity)?
  2. How domestic and intra-regional fish, including low-value species in SSA, are consumed by the poor?
The "Fish to 2030" work will update and further elaborate some of the information generated by an earlier study – "Fish to 2020", carried out by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and The WorldFish Center.
The results of the study will feed into the World Bank’s ProFish program, which aims to promote effective fisheries strategies and policies at the country, regional and global levels through its investment agenda.
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