Freshwater fisheries, food security, and biodiversity

Researchers report a map of the world’s riverine fisheries that highlights global patterns of catch size, fish biodiversity, and food security. Hundreds of millions of people benefit from the recreation, commerce, and protein provided by freshwater fisheries. Yet assessment of global fisheries often overlooks freshwater fisheries. To assess the links between freshwater fisheries, biodiversity, and food security, Peter McIntyre and colleagues created a map of global riverine fisheries. The authors found that fish catches increase with river discharge and human population density, and 89% of global riverine fish catch is harvested from river basins experiencing above-average human-caused stress to the ecosystem. Furthermore, the highest catches are in rivers with the greatest number of fish species, suggesting that fishing pressure is most intense in rivers where the potential impacts to biodiversity are greatest. When fishery data was combined with socioeconomic and nutritional data, the authors found that freshwater fisheries provide the equivalent of all dietary animal protein for around 158 million people. In particular, poor and undernourished populations rely heavily on inland fisheries in comparison to marine fisheries or aquaculture sources. According to the authors, the intersection of poverty, malnourishment, fishery dependence, and threats to fish biodiversity demonstrates the importance of improving freshwater fishery management for the protection of food security and aquatic biodiversity. - Read at PNAS.org

Article #15-21540: “Linking freshwater fishery management to global food security and biodiversity conservation,” by Peter B. McIntyre, Catherine Reidy Liermann, and Carmen Revenga.