Climate change threatens food security in many fish-dependent countries

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

Millions of people in countries around the world may be at increased risk of malnutrition as climate change threatens local fisheries.

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

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

Analysis by international teams in the UK and Canada and analysis by scientists at Lancaster University reveal that: Climate change is the most pervasive threat to the supply of essential micronutrients from catches of saltwater fish, threatening the supply of important micronutrients to 40% of national fisheries. The micronutrient supply from the fishery has been found to be less sensitive to overfishing.

Countries where sources of micronutrients in fisheries are threatened by climate change tend to be tropical countries, East Asian and Pacific countries such as Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia and Timor Eastern, as well as countries in sub-Saharan Africa such as Mozambique and the Sierra. Includes the countries of South Africa. Leone.

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

The study, described in the paper “Climate change and the supply of micronutrients from the world’s marine fisheries in the event of overfishing,” today Current biology..

Previous studies, in particular those on the micronutrient content of fish, were led by Professor Christina Hicks. NatureHas shown that fish are uneven 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 fishing resilience. Early studies by Professor William Cheung and his colleagues show that large, narrowly distributed 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.

Coral fish, fish market, Ambilobe, Madagascar Credit: Eva Maire, Lancaster University

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

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

The main reason why 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 species that are very rich in micronutrients and very 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 silver support that gives hope for the future. In some countries it may be possible to adapt the fishing industry before changing. , but are currently undervalued in capture.

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

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

This study uses the recently published “Fish Nutrients” model, a database of the nutritional components of fin whales.

“This data is essential to opening up whole new areas of research and addressing the challenges of global food security,” said Aaron McNeill, associate professor at the Ocean Frontier Institute at Dalhousie University. “Our study integrates fisheries, climate and food policies to improve food security and fight against malnutrition in order to guarantee these micronutrients for current and future generations. He stresses the need. “

University of British Columbia co-author Professor William Cheung said: Food Security Among millions of people, our research also offers hope for the future. a variety of more resistant. Fish species. In doing so, these countries can ensure a more reliable supply of micronutrients for their populations. “


A database on fish nutrition to fight malnutrition around the world


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

Provided by
Lancaster University

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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