Scientists have projected that millions of people in 65 nations globally, particularly those in Africa and South-East Asia, and the Pacific, could face increased malnutrition as climate change and overfishing take their toll on fisheries.

According to a study that analysed over 800 fish species from more than 157 countries, climate change and overfishing could lead to acute shortages of vital micronutrients from the oceans.

Countries whose fisheries are at increased risk include those in Sub-Saharan Africa such as Mozambique and Sierra Leone, and East Asian and Pacific countries including Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia and Timor-Leste, according to the study published this month (20 July) in Current Biology.

“Countries with nutrient-dense catches are more vulnerable to climate change, mostly tropical nations from East Asia, Pacific, and Sub-Saharan Africa where micronutrient deficiencies are particularly prevalent,” says Eva Maire, the study’s lead author and a senior research associate at the Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, England. “This suggests unmet potential for fisheries to help close nutrition gaps, especially amongst coastal communities.”

Maire says that the study found a clear impact from climate change on the overall availability of micronutrients for 65 nations, and consequently threatening the food security of millions of people living in these countries could be threatened.

She explains that fish is a good source of protein and many vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids that are often missing in the diets of coastal populations throughout the world.

Read the full article about climate change threatens fisheries from SciDev Net at Eco-Business.