Freshwater Fish, Forgotten Food



Anthropocene has a good summary of this recent scientific study on freshwater fish as a potentially robust, sustainable food supply that has been neglected:

We’re overlooking a giant piece in the global food security puzzle

When we think of sustainable fisheries, we tend to focus on oceans and even aquaculture. But there’s an important source of fish protein that’s often overlooked: freshwater fish. An expansive new study finds that fishing pressure and other threats to freshwater fish is greatest precisely where biodiversity is greatest. It also reveals that a very high proportion of the world’s population—particularly the poor and malnourished—depend heavily on this resource for food security.

“There is an extinction crisis in the world’s freshwaters,” says Peter McIntyre, adding that the better caring for inland waters is not just a question of “ivory tower conservation… Improving management of freshwater fish ecosystems will have major benefits for humans, too.”…


…Fishing pressure isn’t the only issue facing freshwater fish: the study found that 89 percent of total catch worldwide comes from ecoregions that have above-average threat levels. Meanwhile, freshwater fisheries provide the equivalent of all the dietary protein for 158 million people. This is largely driven by the fact that there are many people in the world who don’t eat much animal protein, and what they do eat is mostly freshwater fish….

Source: McIntyre, PB, CAR Liermann, and C Revenga. Linking freshwater fishery management to global food security and biodiversity conservation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2016.

Read the whole article here.

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