Importance and Vulnerability of Freshwater Fisheries Globally

Tuesday, August 19, 2014: 1:30 PM
205B (Centre des congrès de Québec // Québec City Convention Centre)
Gordon Holtgrieve , School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Edward Allison , School of Marine and Environmental Affairs, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Because freshwater capture fisheries represent a relatively small proportion of global fish production (~7%) their importance in world food supply is often discounted.  However, when considering the availability of animal protein and key nutrients across income levels, freshwater fisheries play an exceptionally important role for many poor people in low-income developing countries.  Freshwater fisheries also face expanding challenges, yet research and policy directed at freshwaters provide inadequate response to these challenges.  To highlight these issues we conducted a global vulnerability assessment of freshwater fisheries with respect to food security.  Components of vulnerability included integrated threats to freshwaters ecosystems, sensitivity of people to changes in availability of freshwater fish in their diets, and adaptive capacity, related to the size of national economies, function of governance systems and to population-level health and education metrics.   The majority of countries in which freshwater fish contribute a meaningful proportion of total animal protein supply are those with low GDP and human development index..  With widespread threats to freshwater biodiversity and large and growing populations, this translates to nearly 500 million people living in areas categorized in the upper 5% of vulnerability scores. Most live in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia.