Small-scale fisheries and aquaculture have been recognized as important opportunities to enhance household food security in developing countries. While interventions aiming at promoting these activities reveal many positive effects, their direct and indirect impacts on nutritional status have not yet been fully documented. The objective of this paper is to identify more specifically the potential pathways that exist between fish-related livelihoods (small-scale fisheries, fish farming) and household nutritional security. The existing literature reveals scattered but increasing evidence of the contribution of fish to nutritional security through three distinct pathways. The first one is the direct nutritional contribution from fish consumption: because fish are rich in essential nutrients such as vitamin A, calcium, iron and zinc, households engaged in small-scale fisheries or aquaculture are, in theory, able to improve their own nutritional intakes by consuming some of the fish they capture or farm. The second relates to income: increased purchasing power through the sale of fish is recognized as critical for households to be able to access other foods and to improve their overall dietary intake. Finally, because the degree of control exercised by women over family income impacts directly on household food security and nutritional outcomes, enhancing the economic status of women through their involvement in aquaculture and/or fisheries-related activities (fish processing and trading) is also identified as another important pathway to improve household nutritional security. For these three pathways, however, evidence is often only anecdotal and therefore, the paper concludes by highlighting areas where further research and data are needed.
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RAE=Retinol Activity Equivalents.
These authors do not indicate, however, whether those differences were statistically significant.
1USD=69.5 Taka in August, 2010
The income effect on consumption of micronutrients found primarily in meats, such as iron, is generally high while the income effects for micronutrients that come primarily from vegetables such as Vitamin A is usually lower (Bouis 1991).
See however Aromolaran (2004).
Barman (2001) noticed that women in some parts of Bangladesh are traditionally involved in feeding and fertilizing tasks but the ownership of the production and the income derived from selling fish still remained under men’s control. When women were trained, however, they were more likely to become involved in the whole production process of fish and ownership of fisheries may change.
This potential competition between cash-crop and food-crop function happens only when part of the fish is kept for subsistence. In cases where the entire fish catch or production is sold (as is the case in some high-value species fisheries or aquaculture), the issue is comparable to the one discussed in other conventional cash crops (coffee or tobacco) where cash income is used to purchase staple food.
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This research was supported by the WorldFish Center. The two authors share equal authorship. Useful comments by E.H. Allison, M. Beveridge, S. H. Thilsted and two reviewers of this journal on an earlier version of this paper are gratefully acknowledged. A special thanks to Richard Strange, editor-in-Chief of Food Security.
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Kawarazuka, N., Béné, C. Linking small-scale fisheries and aquaculture to household nutritional security: an overview. Food Sec. 2, 343–357 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12571-010-0079-y
- Developing countries
- Food security
- Micronutrient deficiency
- Nutritional intake