Lab members, Hannah Bassett and Zach Koehn, and lab-alum, Marisa Nixon, attended the 5th International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC5) in Kuching, Malaysia from June 22-28. Hannah presented her work titled, “Paradoxical advantages and disadvantages of dive fishing for achieving holistic sustainability,” Zach’s presentation was on “Connecting fishery science to health policies for diet-specific solutions in low-income low food access communities: a population health approach”, and Marisa presented her recent work as a Hershman Fellow with the Washington State Department of Health, titled, “Public health and personal livelihoods: socioeconomic impacts of the response to shellfish-transmitted norovirus in Hammersley Inlet, Puget Sound.”
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Professor Allison and colleagues have long been advocating for increased consideration of food security in fishery policy and vice versa. "Fisheries and the oceans are finally being featured in high-level discussions about food security, after years of trying to make the case that fish and seafood are important components of the global food system - and not just a concern for marine conservation or trade discussions," noted Professor Allison. "While that message seems to be getting through, a concern of our FAO partners was that most UN country officers and organizations concerned with food security at national and local levels were not very familiar with fisheries nor how to go about including them in food security planning."
The past few months have seen some forward momentum on this front as Professor Allison and PhD student, Zach Koehn, worked with FAO staff to provide briefing notes to assist the integration of fisheries into food security policy. The document was presented to delegates at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization's Committee on Global Food Security when it met in Rome in October and was publicly released this month.
Furthering the work's impact, Zach led the joint MARINA Lab and FAO team in turning this report into a chapter in a forthcoming book on the Oceans in the Anthropocene, edited by Melissa Poe of NOAA and Phil Levin of University of Washington and The Nature Conservancy. The team looks forward to continuing this trajectory and increasing awareness and action toward integration of food security and fishery policy.