Eddie Allison, along with colleagues Phillipa Cohen, Christina Hicks, and others have published a new paper in Nature out today.
They have developed a new model to predict the concentrations of key micronutrients in marine fisheries, and compare those nutrient yields to the prevalence of nutritional deficiencies in human populations around the globe.
Their research has found that millions of people around the globe suffer from malnutrition, despite nutrient-rich fish being caught in water bodies near their homes. The newly published paper suggests that increasing fishing yields is not necessarily the answer to solving for malnutrition. Instead, if fish catches were more accessible to local, malnourished populations, there is significant potential to improve both food security and reduce malnutrition-related disease.
In other words, a lack of micronutrient-rich food is not the problem; getting that food to those who need it is.
This new model helps to address that problem, by identifying both nutrient availability in fish catches and nutritional deficiency in human populations, and highlighting areas where the nutrition gap can be closed. However, changes in the market and fishery management systems would be necessary to micronutrient-rich fish to those who need it most.
The research was funded by the European Research Council, Lancaster University, the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, the Royal Society University Research Fellowship, the Canada Research Chairs program, the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research and the U.S. Agency for International Development.