People who are food and nutrition insecure largely reside in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa and for many, fish represents a rich source of protein, micronutrients and essential fatty acids. The contribution of fish to household food and nutrition security depends upon availability, access and cultural and personal preferences. Access is largely determined by location, seasonality and price but at the individual level it also depends upon a person's physiological and health status and how fish is prepared, cooked and shared among household members.
Twenty-five species of fish, shrimp and prawn from local markets in Bangladesh were analysed for concentrations of total Fe, haem Fe and non-haem Fe by ICP-MS. Total Fe and non-haem Fe concentrations were measured in nitric acid-digested samples and haem Fe was extracted using acidified 80% acetone for 60 min. Total Fe concentrations ranged from 0.55 to 14.43 mg/100 g FW, and haem Fe% ranged from 18 to 93% of total Fe. Repeat extractions with 80% acetone recovered additional haem Fe, suggesting that previous measurement by this technique may have underestimated haem Fe content.
Increased production of mola and other small fish can be achieved through stock enhancement and sustainable management of natural wetlands. Enhanced fish production can increase consumption and provide nutritional benefits, especially for women and young children, as they suffer from high rates of malnutrition, including micronutrient deficiencies. Mola and other small fish, which are eaten whole, have high contents of vitamins and minerals. In recent years, there has been a reduction in fish production and biodiversity in wetland areas of Bangladesh.
Key contributing factors to undernutrition in low-income countries, including Bangladesh, are low dietary diversity in the diets of women and low nutrient density of traditional complementary foods (CFs) for infants and young children. Several plant-based processed CFs have been developed in Bangladesh, however, all have required fortification with vitamins and minerals to achieve desired nutrient densities. There are few examples in the literature of a combined approach using animal source foods (with the exception of milk) in processed food products targeted at the first 1000 days.
The CGIAR Research Program on Aquatic Agricultural Systems (AAS) is being implemented in ten communities in the Barotse floodplain of Zambia’s Western Province. With a focus on the rural poor and vulnerable, the AAS program aims to reduce poverty and improve food security by harnessing the development potential, productivity and diversity of aquatic and agricultural systems.
Bangladesh has made considerable progress against human development indicators in recent years, but malnutrition resulting from poor dietary diversity and low micronutrient intakes remains entrenched. Fish is central to the Bangladeshi diet and small fish species are an important micronutrient source. Although fish consumption per capita has increased in recent years as a result of rapid expansion of aquaculture, it is likely that consumption of fish from capture fisheries (including small indigenous species particularly rich in micronutrients), has declined.
It is highly unlikely that wild capture fisheries will be able to produce higher yields in future. For aquaculture the opposite is the case. No other food production sector has grown as fast over the past 20 years. Aquaculture is expected to satisfy the growing world population’s demand for fish – and at the same time protect ocean fish stocks. Hopes are pinned on farming as an alternative to over-fishing. But the use of copious amounts of feed derived from wild fish, the destruction of mangrove forests and the use of antibiotics have given fish farming a bad name.
The World Fish Center, in collaboration with the GOB and USAID, has been implementing the FtF Aquaculture Project since October 2011 with a view to meet the government and FtF goals to sustainably reduce poverty and hunger. The project is funded by the USAID FtF initiative and covers a 5-year intervention in aquaculture focused on 20 southern districts in of the country.
Improving the productivity of fisheries and aquaculture is vital to reducing hunger and poverty for millions of people in the developing world. Today, fish provides more than one billion poor people with most of their daily animal-source protein and, globally, more than 250 million people depend directly on fisheries and aquaculture for their livelihoods; millions more are employed in fisheries and aquaculture value chains.
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.