Africa faces extreme poverty and food and nutrition security challenges. Forty-three percent of the population lives on less than $1.90 a day and 38 percent of children-under-five are malnourished (WorldBank 2016). Despite fish contributing 18% of the total animal-source protein in Africa, fish consumption is the lowest in the world at 9.2 kg per capita (Beveridge et al. 2013). An estimated 12.3 million people (27% women) are employed in the fisheries and aquaculture sector, with the total value added by the sectors reaching USD 17.4 billion in 2011 (FAO 2014).
In Africa, WorldFish aims to increase the productivity of fisheries and aquaculture and improve livelihoods for poor women and men. Specifically, WorldFish conducts research focused on: reducing post-harvest losses, strengthening fishery governance and co-management systems, gender equity and increasing productivity and strengthening resources.
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Asia is home to over 50% of the world's poorest people (Roser 2016) and, in South Asia, the highest numbers of undernourished people (FAO 2016). Over two-thirds of the world supply of fish comes from this region where a large proportion is consumed domestically (FAO 2016). Per capita consumption in Asia averaged to about 15 kg annually (Beveridge et al. 2013), which is less than the global average of 19.7 kg in 2013 (FAO 2016).
Currently, fish provides about 19% of the animal-source protein in the region (Beveridge et al. 2013) and is the main or supplementary source of employment, livelihoods and income for more than 47 million people (including China) (FAO 2016). In Cambodia, fisheries and aquaculture are the main source of nutrition and income, providing around 75% of total animal-source protein (FAO 2013) and accounting for 12% of the country’s GDP (Mekong River Commission 2016). While in Myanmar, households spend nearly as much on fish (14% of food expenditure) as on rice (19% of food expenditure), the country’s staple food (Belton et al. 2015).
WorldFish has research programs in South Asia (Bangladesh), the Greater Mekong Basin (Cambodia and Myanmar) and Southeast Asia (Philippines). WorldFish focuses its research on: developing sustainable aquaculture, integrating aquaculture with agriculture, increasing small-scale aquaculture productivity, rehabilitating and sustaining coastal fisheries, increasing the production and consumption of small-fish for nutrition and health, and promoting inland fisheries co-management approaches.
Pacific Islanders derive most their animal-source protein from fish (FAO 2010). In this region, fish consumption rates are among the highest in the world. Fishing is consistently one of the top two sources of livelihood in rural communities, with 60-90% of fish consumed there caught by the household (WorldFish 2008).
Fish also contribute significantly to national economies, particularly in those countries with significant tuna stocks. Population growth, overfishing and climate change threaten the supply of fish and present major nutrition security challenges in the future.
WorldFish has research programs in Solomon Islands, Kiribati, and Vanuatu in the Western Pacific, and in Timor-Leste. WorldFish, with its regional partners, focuses on management of coastal marine resources, the promotion of supplementary livelihood options and the development of sustainable aquaculture.