Aquatic agricultural systems (AAS) are diverse production and livelihood systems where families cultivate a range of crops, raise livestock, farm or catch fish, gather fruits and other tree crops, and harness natural resources such as timber, reeds, and wildlife. Aquatic agricultural systems occur along freshwater floodplains, coastal deltas, and inshore marine waters, and are characterized by dependence on seasonal changes in productivity, driven by seasonal variation in rainfall, river flow, and/or coastal and marine processes.
The CGIAR Research Program on Aquatic Agricultural Systems (AAS) is pursuing a Research in Development approach that emphasizes the importance of embedding research in the development context. Reflecting this emphasis the six elements of this approach are a commitment to people and place, participatory action research, gender transformative research, learning and networking, partnerships, and capacity building. It is through the careful pursuit of these six elements that we believe that the program will achieve the development outcomes we aspire to, and do so at scale.
Small indigenous fish species (SIS) are an important source of essential macro- and micronutrients that can play an important role in the elimination of malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies in the populations of many South and Southeast Asian countries. Of the 260 freshwater fish species in Bangladesh, more than 140 are classified as SIS and are an integral part of the rural Bangladeshi diet. As many SIS are eaten whole, with organs and bones, they contain high amounts of vitamins and minerals, including calcium, and iron and zinc. Some SIS, such as mola, are also rich in vitamin A.
The fisheries sector in Cambodia contributes 8%–12% to national GDP and 25% - 30% to agricultural GDP, with an estimated 4.5 million people involved in fishing and associated trades. Fish and other aquatic animals are important food sources, contributing an estimated national average of 60% - 70% of total animal protein intake. Of the 2013 total fish production, 550,000 metric tons were harvested from freshwater habitats, of which rice field fisheries and small-scale family fisheries contributed approximately 20%.
Hunger and malnutrition are the world’s most devastating problems and are inextricably linked to poverty. A total of 842 million people in 2011-13, or around one in eight people in the world, were estimated to be suffering from chronic hunger, regularly not getting enough food to conduct an active life (FAO, IFAD and WFP 2013).
Aquaculture is widely held to contribute to poverty reduction and food security in the Global South, but robust evidence is limited. Using nationally representative data from Bangladesh, this study analyses changes in fish consumption from 2000 to 2010. Rapid expansion of commercial aquaculture pegged down fish prices, resulting in increased fish consumption by extreme poor and moderate poor consumers and those in rural areas. These outcomes are closely linked to the pro-poor nature of national economic growth during this period.
Fish—including finfish and shellfish—are an important item in the human food basket, contributing 17 percent of the global animal-based protein supply in 2010. They are an especially valuable food source in developing countries, where more than 75 percent of the world’s fish consumption occurs. In addition to protein, fish contain micronutrients and longchain omega-3 fatty acids that are essential for maternal and child health, but often deficient in the diets of the poor.
The Mekong is an exceptional river in many ways. In terms of fish biodiversity, it is the world’s second richest river after the Amazon (www.fishbase. org). With 6 to 18% of the global freshwater fish catch, it is also home to the largest freshwater fisheries in the world. The productive Mekong fisheries are essential to the food security of the 60 million people of the Lower Mekong Basin. Fish contributes 81% of the population’s protein intake in Cambodia and 48% in Laos. Mekong inland fisheries also provide employment to 1.6 of the 14 million Cambodians.
Fish are a significant source of income and food security in Uganda, highly vulnerable to climate and non-climate related drivers of change. This study examines the vulnerability of the fish sector in Uganda as it relates to the predicted impacts from climate change and variability, using the concept of the value chain. The specific purpose of the study was to identify current and potential impact pathways of climate change and corresponding adaptation strategies in fish value chains.
Aquaculture, the farming of aquatic organisms, provides close to 50% of the world's supply of seafood, with a value of U.S. $125 billion. It makes up 13% of the world's animal-source protein (excluding eggs and dairy) and employs an estimated 24 million people (1). With capture (i.e., wild) fisheries production stagnating, aquaculture may help close the forecast global deficit in fish protein by 2020.