Research: Shifting Perspective on Fish from Commodity to Resource Holds World-Changing Potential

Viewing fish as a source of global nutrition instead of only as a commodity  holds potential to fortify global food security and diminish world hunger, a new international study shows.

The paper, published in the journal Ambio, includes an analysis by Professor Peter Jacques, Ph.D, an expert in global environmental politics and ocean policy from the School of Politics, Security, and International Development.

The article was originally led by faculty at Duke and Michigan State, who reached out to Jacques for his expertise in sustainability efforts. The semantics that typically surround the topic of fish shift the resource into a blunt commodity that becomes inaccessible to many communities, he said.

“Poorer populations, such as those that rely on coastal fisheries, use fish as an important source of their nutrition,” said Jacques. “Now these fisheries are being priced out…overfishing is occurring…this is a serious problem.”

The article, titled “Recognize fish as food in policy discourse and development funding,” explores the idea that the semantics surrounding fish serve to capitalize a resource that should otherwise be universally available.

“Fish are underappreciated,” said Jacques. “If fish was framed as a resource  with broader social and ecological context, it could have the potential of positively impacting those around the world suffering from starvation.”

Jacques said bringing awareness to this topic is the first step in showing the value of sustainability over profits.

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