New publication! Tiny fish could unlock big gains in tackling global malnutrition


Check out our new publication in Nature Food, “Small pelagic fish supply abundant and affordable micronutrients to low- and middle-income countries”, part of the Illuminating Hidden Harvests Initiative!

“Our findings show that nutrients critical to tackling malnutrition are within the reach of vulnerable people living nearby coastal and freshwater ecosystems across the globe. These small locally-caught fish are packed with nutrients key for sustaining healthy diets, are already caught in sufficient numbers, and are affordable. Small pelagic fisheries must be fished sustainably, and catches must reach vulnerable local populations.”

The research is part of the ‘ Illuminating Hidden Harvests ’ project, where an international
team of researchers and fisheries scientists collected data on catch volumes and economic
and nutrient data for over two-thirds of global fisheries catch, including nearly 2,350 species. The findings identified the most affordable and nutritious fish in 39 low and middle-income countries, and will help inform public health and fisheries policies in places where data on fish nutrients are scarce. Small pelagic fish hit a sweet spot of being highly nutritious, caught abundantly and, crucially, are also the most affordable fish, especially in low-income countries. They are rich in iron, zinc, calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, and selenium and are up to twice as affordable as other fish groups. Herrings, sardines and anchovies were found to be the cheapest nutritious fish in 28 of the 39 countries studied. Cold-water demersal species, such as cod and flounders were found to be the least affordable.