A new study of dozens of wild fish species commonly consumed in the Peruvian Amazon says that people there could suffer major nutritional shortages if ongoing losses in fish biodiversity continue.
A new study of dozens of wild fish species commonly consumed in the Peruvian Amazon says that people there could suffer major nutritional shortages if ongoing losses in fish biodiversity continue. Furthermore, the increasing use of aquaculture and other substitutes may not compensate. The research has implications far beyond the Amazon, since the diversity and abundance of wild-harvested foods is declining in rivers and lakes globally, as well as on land. Some 2 billion people globally depend on non-cultivated foods; inland fisheries alone employ some 60 million people, and provide the primary source of protein for some 200 million. The study appears this week in the journal Science Advances.
The authors studied the vast, rural Loreto department of the Peruvian Amazon, where most of the 800,000 inhabitants eat fish at least once a day, or an average of about 52 kilograms (115 pounds) per year. This is their primary source not only of protein, but fatty acids and essential trace minerals including iron, zinc and calcium. Unfortunately, it is not enough; a quarter of all children are malnourished or stunted, and more than a fifth of women of child-bearing age are iron deficient.
Read more at: Earth Institute at Columbia University
Landing a catch along the Ucayali River in the Loreto department of the Peruvian Amazon. The boy is holding a boquichico, a commonly consumed species. (Photo Credit: Sebastian Heilpern)