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Fishing for health: Do the world’s national policies for fisheries and aquaculture align with those for nutrition?

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

  • John Zachary Koehn
  • Edward H Allison
  • Karen Villeda
  • Zelin Chen
  • Marisa Nixon
  • Emily Crigler
  • Lily Zhao
  • Michelle Chow
  • Bapu Vaitla
  • Shakuntala H Thilsted
  • Joeri Scholtens
  • Christina C Hicks
  • Neil Andrew
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>31/01/2022
<mark>Journal</mark>Fish and Fisheries
Issue number1
Number of pages18
Pages (from-to)125-142
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date16/08/21
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Aquatic foods are rich in micronutrients essential to human health, and fisheries and aquaculture are increasingly recognized for their capacity to contribute to reducing global micronutrient deficiencies and diet-based health risks. Whether fisheries and aquaculture sector and public health nutrition policies align to meet this goal, however, is unclear. Do fisheries and aquaculture policies have explicit nutrition and public health objectives? Do public health nutrition policies recognize the contribution of aquatic foods? Using content analysis, we assessed the alignment of objectives in national fisheries and public health nutrition policies. We further determined conditions associated with varying levels of cohesion among policies in these sectors or domains. We found that 77 of 158 national fisheries policies identified nutrition as a key objective in the sector, and 68 of 165 public health nutrition policies identified the importance of fish and shellfish consumption as key objectives. More recent policies were associated with improved coherence among sectors. International organization presence in policy development was also associated with greater coherence. Countries with higher overweight prevalence had fisheries and public health nutrition policies that were not aligned. There has been a promising recent trend for improved alignment of objectives between fisheries and public health nutrition policies, but more targeted and systematic policy approaches are needed to realize the potential contribution of nutrient-rich fish and shellfish to healthier food systems.