The worldwide fish food system is undergoing rapid change.
Fish are a well-recognised source of high quality protein and play an important role in diets, particularly for the poor in many regions of the world.
Fish are also a key but under-recognised source of micronutrients such as iron, zinc, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin B12 and essential fats.
The fish food system is undergoing rapid change. Global non-farmed wild fisheries are in decline, while aquaculture (fish farming) rapidly grows.
The nutritional implications of this shift represents a significant knowledge gap.
Embracing a nutrition sensitive approach
To shed light on this issue, we undertook a study in Bangladesh.
Our research found that the nutritional value of fish is diverse, with non-farmed (wild caught) fish species more nutritious than farmed species.
While people in Bangladesh ate 30 per cent more fish in 2010 than in 1991, they received less nutrients, such as iron and calcium.
Transition from non-farmed to farmed fish has an impact on nutrition.
Our research highlights challenges with the recent transition away from non-farmed (wild caught) fish to farmed fish from a global nutrition perspective.
An increase in food supply via aquaculture, does not necessarily equate to improved nutrition.
As aquaculture becomes an increasingly important food source, it must embrace a nutrition-sensitive approach, moving beyond maximising productivity to also consider nutritional quality.