The contribution of small-scale fisheries research to a food secure world

Project code
AUD 249,878
Research program manager
Prof Ann Fleming
Project leader
WorldFish Center
Commissioned organisation
WorldFish Center
MAR 2017
MAR 2018
Project status
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Fish is by far the most important and fastest growing animal-source food, and is a critical contributor to food and nutrition security. Yet, this critical role of fish is poorly represented in global debates about food security and development.

There is a limited understanding, particularly amongst those outside of the sector, of the long term contribution the fisheries sector can make to the challenges of malnutrition, poverty alleviation and improved well- being.

Where fisheries do gain recognition the focus tends to be on those parts of the sector that are well accounted for in formal production statistics (i.e., industrial, commercial fisheries) and where gains in production are easily measureable (i.e., aquaculture). The very characteristics that make small-scale fisheries resilient and able to deliver livelihood and food security benefits to millions of people make them difficult to enumerate, account for and govern.

The objective of this SRA was to collate best available evidence to;

  1. Synthesise evidence of the impact of SSF (including the contributions of SSF research) for food and nutrition security, livelihoods and climate change adaptation
  2. Develop a rigorous and high profile case and program for investment in SSF research for development

Project outcomes

This SRA has enabled and directly contributed towards;

  • a strengthened and revised research for development program for SSF that has successfully been funded by the CGIAR and new funders such as the Oak Foundation.
  • a symposium and associated proceedings of 60 SSF researchers to examine the past and potential role of research in addressing small-scale fisheries concerns
  • building a consortium of partners who have drafted a preliminary methodology and secured funding to revisit the ‘Hidden Harvest’ study that will account for, understand and raise the profile of the vast and diverse nutrition, employment and livelihood contributions of SSF
  • the development of two (potentially high profile) research papers that examine nutrition potential of fisheries, particularly small-scale fisheries, and chart an agenda for future impactful research towards nutrition sensitive fisheries
  • a draft strategy for a 10 year collaboration between WorldFish and ACIAR – the draft provides a platform from which to details can be discussed and determined collaboratively.
Key partners
James Cook University