Fish nutrition database to help combat malnutrition across the globe

A treasure trove of significant dietary knowledge about fish species is being made freely out there and accessible globally – plugging a data hole that can bolster efforts to deal with malnutrition the world over.

Despite fish being a vital part within the food regimen of greater than 3 billion individuals around the globe, and an important supply of micronutrients for over a billion individuals in low-income nations, many of those populations lose their very nutritious fish by exports and international fishing and, in flip, import lower-quality fish and fish merchandise, making a internet lack of important vitamins.

In reality, as much as 70% of fish caught within the fishing zones alongside the coasts of African nations akin to Namibia and Mauritania are exported or monopolized by wealthier international nations.

This is partly resulting from a conventional view of fish perceived primarily as a supply of protein, with much less consideration given to the micronutrient composition of various fish species – a notion rooted in an absence of obtainable dietary data. For instance, very small species can typically be very nutritious – however as a result of they aren’t protected for his or her native meals safety potential, they’re exported and processed into merchandise akin to fishmeal animal feeds.

Just a fraction of extremely nutritious fish caught off west African waters, which comprise omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, iron and zinc, might assist to considerably cut back the prevalence of malnutrition-linked situations akin to maternal mortality, stunted development, and pre-eclampsia.

A highly-cited research on fish and vitamin, printed by Nature in 2019, and performed by a global crew of researchers led by Professor Christina Hicks of Lancaster University highlighted the necessity for fisheries and meals insurance policies centered on enhancing vitamin, reasonably than rising volumes of meals produced, or income era from exports.

The 2019 research noticed the event of a finfish nutrient composition database, which was used to develop predictive fashions of the provision of vitamins from the world’s fisheries.

Now, this important empirical and modelled nutrient composition info for greater than 5,000 contemporary and marine fish species is being made freely out there to scientists, coverage makers, managers, teachers and others concerned in developmental work.

The new initiative, launching on June 23, 2021, will see the dietary knowledge added to FishBase – a web based encyclopedia of fish with essential info on greater than 34,000 freshwater and marine species. Available in 14 languages, the database is visited by greater than 900,000 individuals every month, together with fisheries biologists, managers, ecologists, and sustainability scientists.

The initiative is pushed by a global partnership of main consultants from the Ocean Frontier Institute, FishBase, WorldFish, the Lancaster Environment Centre, the Sea Around Us analysis unit on the University of British Columbia, the Minderoo Foundation and different organisations.

It is hoped that by including the knowledge to the ‘world commons’ it may be used to determine how and the place fisheries might help tackle malnutrition, determine vulnerabilities in meals techniques, and develop an proof base to help the safety of native meals environments and ecosystems.

Policy makers in particular person nations would be capable to determine which of their native fish are essentially the most nutritious and wish defending.

Professor Christina Hicks stated: “Fish are more and more acknowledged as key to addressing malnutrition, however that potential is but to be realised. We hope by bringing the fisheries and vitamin communities nearer collectively this work can help transitions in direction of extra equitable, sustainable, and wholesome meals practices.”

“The fundamental level of creating empirical and modeled values of nutrient composition available to researchers by FishBase is to have a transparent understanding of the nutrient potential and alternatives from world fisheries catches,” stated Deng Palomares, the Sea Around Us supervisor and one of many individuals behind the brand new initiative. “This understanding, in flip, ought to assist information more practical fisheries administration that takes into consideration the function that fish performs in addressing hidden starvation resulting from malnourishment.”

“Making out there scientific knowledge that again the argument of the significance of fisheries in addressing world meals safety challenges has main coverage and societal implications,” stated Professor Daniel Pauly, co-founder of FishBase and the Sea Around Us Principal Investigator. “FishBase is the best host for this sort of info as it’s already an information supplier for nationwide techniques for the administration of fisheries and aquaculture, and the monitoring of biodiversity.”


Launch occasion

The initiative shall be launched by a one-hour occasion at 2pm-3pm UTC (3pm-4pm BST) on June 23. The launch occasion, hosted by the Ocean Frontier Institute at Dalhousie University, will embrace a panel of main consultants together with companions from the venture akin to Professor Daniel Pauly, the world’s most highly-cited fisheries scientist, in addition to Dr Shakuntala Haraksingh Thilsted, who lately obtained the World Food Prize for pioneering revolutionary methods of elevating fish wealthy in micronutrients and fatty acids and incorporating them into diets in creating nations.

The full panel for the launch is:

Pip Cohen, Research Leader, Small-scale Fisheries, WorldFish and CGIAR Research Program on FISH

Anya Waite, Ocean Frontier Institute, Dalhousie University

Daniel Pauly, FishBase co-founder, Sea Around Us – Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, University of British Columbia

Deng Palomares, FishBase and Sea Around Us – Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, University of British Columbia

Shakuntala Thilsted, Global Research Leader, Nutrition and Health, WorldFish and World Food Prize Laureate, CGIAR

Christina Hicks, Lancaster University

Aaron MacNeil, Ocean Frontier Institute, Department of Biology, Dalhousie University

Kendra Travaille, Flourishing Oceans, The Minderoo Foundation

People can attend the launch occasion by registering at

FishBase might be discovered by visiting

This collaboration was supported by Oak Foundation, Minderoo Foundation, The European Research Council, and the CGIAR Research Programme on Fish Agri-Food Systems (FISH).

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