Exploring the health value of global fisheries

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A new project based at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health aims to quantify the human health value of fisheries around the world, to determine the health risks of fishery decline and collapse, and to develop tools to better manage these risks. The project is supported by a large grant from the Wellcome Trust’s Sustaining Health Program, and was chosen from a pool of 425 applications to be one of 10 selected projects around the world to make a difference in the field of planetary health.

The project is led by Christopher Golden, research associate in the Department of Environmental Health and program director of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Health & Ecosystems: Analysis of Linkages (HEAL) program.

Although fisheries around the world are threatened by overfishing, habitat destruction, and climate change, there is very little research on how fishery declines are linked to disability and disease.

Using data from a number of existing mega-databases, the new project will quantify the nutritional importance of fisheries for different populations around the world; examine how projected changes in global fish stocks could affect human nutrition; identify populations with the most nutritional vulnerability to changes in fisheries; and develop tools to help decision makers determine the human health impacts of various fishery management strategies.