Global fishery declines linked to malnutrition threat

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Poor people around the world who depend on seafood for a significant portion of their diet are likely to suffer malnutrition if global fisheries continue to decline, according to new research from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The study was published in Nature on June 15, 2016.

Lead author Christopher Golden, a research scientist at Harvard Chan and associate director of the Planetary Health Alliance, found that 11% of the world’s population, or 845 million people, will be vulnerable to micronutrient deficiencies by 2050 if there is not a shift in fishery management practices. The size of the affected population climbs to 19%, or 1.39 billion people, if nutrients found only in animal sources, such as vitamin B12 and DHA omega-3 fatty acids, are included.

Golden told the Harvard Gazette in a June 15, 2016 article that nutrition should be considered in policies around fishery management. He said that “many of the consequences of the way we manage resources and conserve natural systems will have very strong and powerful downstream effects on human health. It’s not just a biodiversity issue; it’s not just an economics issue. We need to be really thinking through this third dimension: human health and well-being.”