Knowledge for Development

The potential of nutrient-rich small fish species in aquaculture to improve human nutrition and health


Date: 11/07/2012


This paper from the WorldFish Centre examines the potential of small fish in fighting hidden hunger. Small fish are a common food and an integral part of the everyday diets of many population groups in poor countries. These populations also suffer from undernutrition, including micronutrient deficiencies (the hidden hunger). Studies in rural Bangladesh and Cambodia showed that small fish made up 50–80% of total fish intake in the peak fish production season. Small fish are a preferred food, supplying multiple essential nutrients and with positive perceptions for nutrition, health and well-being. As many small fish species are eaten whole, they are particularly rich in calcium, and some are also rich in vitamin A, iron and zinc. In areas with fisheries resources and habitual fish intake, there is good scope to include micronutrient-rich small fish in agricultural policy and programmes, thereby increasing intakes which can lead to improved nutrition and health. (WorldFish Centre, 05/2012)