Department of Geography

Utilising small fish for global food security

Consumption of fish and its contribution to the diets, especially of low income populations and vulnerable groups, offers important means for improving nutrition. Despite this, fish is strikingly missing from strategies for reduction of nutrient deficiency, for example among pregnant and lactating women, children and poor people.

Group photo
Presentations by: Moses Adjei and Ragnhild Overå (Department of Geography, UoB), Gro-Ingunn Hemre (NIFES), Marian Kjellevold (NIFES), Jeppe Kolding (Department of Biology, UoB), Oddrun Anita Gudbrandsen (Department of Clinical Medicine, UoB), Mariama Awumbila (Department of Geography and Resource Development, University of Ghana), Shakuntala Thilsted (WorldFish Centre, Cambodia), Marloes Kraan (Wageningen Marine Research, Wageningen University), Marguerite Daniel (Department of Health Promotion, UoB), Peter Andersen (Department of Geography, UoB), Maarten Bavinck (Centre for Maritime Research (MARE), and Planning and International Development Studies, University of Amsterdam), Francis Ewusie Nunoo (Department of Marine and Fisheries Sciences, University of Ghana). In addition: Ingunn Engebretsen (Centre for International Halth (CIH), UoB) and Astrid Maria Cabrera (Department of Geography, UoB).
Grethe Meling

Main content

A growing body of evidence points towards the important role small pelagic fish species such as herring, mackerel, sardine and anchovy play for food security and good nutrition in developing countries. Small fish is often cheap and consumed whole from head to tail including heads, guts and bones, which are extremely rich in vitamins and minerals.

However, the fishing pressure on these species poses a serious governance challenge in many areas. The utilisation of small fish for human consumption also faces competition from feed production for the aquaculture and meat industries. It is therefore timely to focus on achieving a more sustainable and fair utilization of fish resources throughout the value chain from sea to pot as affordable and accessible food for an increasing world population.

New research initiative

With support from the University of Bergen's Strategic Programme for International Research and Education (SPIRE) the first workshop of the research network ‘Small Fish and Food Security (SFFS)’ 29-30 November brought together fisheries, nutrition and health researchers from a range of disciplines and institutions: University of Bergen (Departments of Geography, Biology and Medicine, Centre for International Health (CIH) and Department of Health Promotion); National Institute of Nutrition and Seafood Research (NIFES); University of Ghana; Wageningen University; University of Amsterdam, and the CGIAR organisation WorldFish Centre. Competence at a high level was exchanged among the participants in an attentive and constructive atmosphere across the disciplines.

EADI-conference in Bergen

The SFFS-network is currently developing research proposals on the contribution of small fish species to food and nutrition security. The network also participates with the panel ‘Zero Hunger and Life Below Water: Sustainable Utilization of Marine and Freshwater Resources for Global Food Security’ in the conference ‘Globalisation at the Crossroads: Rethinking Inequalitites and Boundaries’ organized by EADI (European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes), NFU (Norwegian Association of Development Research), Chr. Michelsen Institute and the University of Bergen next year.