A new policy brief on ‘harnessing aquaculture for healthy diets’ by the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition (GLOPAN) — with research contributions from World Fish — an aquaculture corporation, has been launched, with experts highlighting the critical role of aquatic foods in responding to the global call to action for a sustainable and resilient transformation of global food systems, including Africa. They noted that fish and other aquatic foods are among the most traded food commodities globally.
World Fish Director General, Dr. Gareth Johnstone, said: “Aquatic foods offer a critical solution for the two billion people worldwide who suffer the triple burden of malnutrition, hidden hunger and protein deficiency.”
He further noted that aquatic foods are a rich source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and micronutrients. “Their production through aquaculture is key to support the provision of healthy diets for many who lack access to nutritious foods. For many people living in low and middle-income countries, aquatic foods are already the most accessible and affordable animal-source food. Compared to other animal source foods, they offer multiple nutritional benefits and are produced at a lower environmental cost,” he added.
The value of aquatic food production—through aquaculture alone—was $264 billion in 2019. The fastest growing agricultural sub-sector, its global production was projected to reach 105 million tons per year by 2029. A report at the end of the forum showed that aquaculture has potential to accelerate economic growth, provide employment opportunities, improve food security, and deliver an environmentally sustainable source of good nutrition for millions of people, especially in low- and middle-income countries. If managed sustainably, aquaculture could provide a viable means to support capture fisheries alongside more sustainable practices and help reduce our reliance on terrestrial protein sources. This Day