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Climate change threatens food security in many fish-dependent countries

School in Jack Ficain, Sipadan Island, Malaysia. Credits: Emily Darling, Director, Coral Reef Conservation, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)

Millions of people in countries around the world can face an increased risk of malnutrition as climate change threatens local fishing.


New projections investigating more than 800 species of fish in more than 157 countries reveal how growing pressures are generated in the two major areas.Climate change Overfishing — can affect the availability of important micronutrients from the ocean.

Like omega 3 fatty acids, fish are an important source of iron, zinc, calcium and vitamin A. Lack of these important micronutrients is associated with conditions such as maternal mortality, stunting, and preeclampsia.

Analysis by international teams in the United Kingdom and Canada and analysis by scientists at Lancaster University reveal that: climate Change is the most prevalent threat to the supply of essential micronutrients from saltwater fish catches, threatening the supply of important micronutrients from 40% of national fisheries. The supply of fishery micronutrients has been found to be less susceptible to overfishing.

Countries where micronutrient sources in fisheries are at risk of climate change tend to be tropical countries, East Asian and Pacific countries such as Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia and East Timor, as well as sub-Saharan countries such as Mozambique and Sierra. Includes South African countries. Leone.

This vulnerability to climate change in the fisheries of these countries is particularly acute given the prevalence of dietary shortages of calcium, iron, zinc and vitamin A in the tropics. In addition, these tropical countries are heavily dependent on the fishery industry to support their economies and population diets, and their limited social capacity to adapt to the disruption of the fishery industry due to climate change. The resistance is also low.

The study, outlined in the paper “Climate Change and the Supply of Micronutrients from the World’s Marine Fisheries Under Overfishing,” today Current biology..

Previous studies, especially those of fish micronutrient content, were led by Professor Christina Hicks. NatureShowed that fish are unequal in terms of nutritional value. Various factors such as diet, seawater temperature, and energy consumption affect the amount of micronutrients in fish. Tropical fish tend to be richer in micronutrients than cold water species.

Again, not all fish are equal when it comes to climate change and resilience to fisheries. Early studies by Professor William Cheung and his colleagues show that large, narrow-range fish species tend to be more vulnerable to climate change. Species that take a long time to mature and grow slowly are more vulnerable to fishing because they take longer to replenish their resources.

Climate change threatens food security in many fish-dependent countries

Coral reef fish, fish market, Ambilobe, Madagascar.Credits: Eva Maire, Lancaster University

Their findings show only a weak association between the micronutrient density of individual fish species and their vulnerability to climate change or overfishing.

However, when scientists examined the country’s overall catch, their findings clearly indicate that climate change has a clear impact on the overall availability of micronutrients in about 40% of the country. It has revealed that it threatens the food security of millions of people living in the country.

The main reason climate change is such a threat is the type of fish that each country targets as part of its catch.

Fishermen in some tropical countries target highly micronutrient-dense species that are highly vulnerable to climate change, such as Indian mackerel (Rastrelliger kanagurta and Rastrelliger brachysoma), Bonga and Hirsashad (Ethmalosafimbriata and Tenualosailisha), and dolphins (Coryphaena hippurus). .. ).

However, the results of this study have a silvery backing that gives hope for the future.In some countries it may be possible to adapt the fishing industry before switching Vulnerable species Target alternatives instead Micronutrients-Abundant species that are resilient to both climate change and overfishing, but are currently undervalued in catch.

Dr. Eva Maire of Lancaster University and the lead author of the study said: “Climate change and overfishing are significant and increasing pressure on global fish stocks makes it essential to know the extent of the dietary requirements of millions of people. These pressures will we in the future. Will affect the availability of micronutrients in the sea.

“We have shown that climate change is the most prevalent threat to the supply of important micronutrients in many countries around the world, especially in the tropics.

This study utilizes the recently released “Fish Nutrients” model, a database of fin whale nutritional components.

“These data are essential to open up entirely new areas of research and address global food security challenges,” said Aaron McNeill, an associate professor at the Ocean Frontier Institute at Dalhousie University. “Our study integrates fisheries, climate and food policies to improve food security and address malnutrition to secure these micronutrients for existing and future generations. It emphasizes the need. “

Professor William Cheung, co-author of the University of British Columbia, said: Food security Among the millions of people, our research also provides hope for the future.Armed with various nutritional information fish seedMany countries have the ability to adapt fisheries policies to target a variety of more resilient ones. Fish species.. By doing this, these countries can ensure a more reliable supply of micronutrients for their people. ”


A fish nutrition database to help fight malnutrition around the world


For more information:
Current biology (2021). DOI: 10.1016 / j.cub.2021.06.067

Quote: Climate change: Fish acquired on July 20, 2021 from https://phys.org/news/2021-07-climate-threatens-food-countries-fish.html (July 20, 2021) Threatens food security in many countries that depend on

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Climate change threatens food security in many fish-dependent countries

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