The Role of Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture for Food Security and Nutrition - E-consultation to set the track of the study

11.03.2013 - 12.04.2013

Duly recognising the significant role played by fisheries and aquaculture in food security and nutrition, the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) in its thirty-ninth Session (October 2012) requested the High Level Panel of Experts (HLPE), to undertake a study on the Role of sustainable fisheries and aquaculture for food security and nutrition to be presented to the Plenary in 2014. “In this study, CFS requires the HLPE to consider the environmental, social and economic aspects of fisheries including artisanal fisheries, as well as a review of aquaculture development. The report of this study has to be policy oriented, practical and operational”.


As part of its report elaboration process, the HLPE is now launching an e-consultation to seek views, public feedback and comments, on the proposed orientation of the study and on key aspects that the report proposes to address, in line with the request from the CFS, and which could form the building blocks of the report. The feedback received will be used by the HLPE Steering Committee to finalize the terms of reference of the Study and HLPE Project Team that will be appointed to prepare the study and policy recommendations.

To download the proposed scope, please click here.
If you wish to contribute, send an email or use the form below.

The consultation is open until 12th April 2013.


In parallel, the HLPE is calling for experts interested in participating in the Project Team for this report. Information on this call is available on the HLPE website. The HLPE Steering Committee will appoint the Project Team after review of candidatures.

The HLPE Steering Committee

Eltighani Elamin Sudan

Greetings from Baghdad!

I have read your excellent paper, and think one key issue is missig, that is the relevance of this study to food aid. The current food aid distribution systems are energy based providing mainly cereals driving the poor into chronic hidden hunger for micronutreints. Fisheries if utlized propoerly, could well balance the food rations distributed to the food needy people and the current energy based formula of the food rations could be changed into a nutrition based food basket. Spill over effects of reduced cereals prices to market food consumers when sea food takes its proportional size in the new food emergncy baskets and more hungry people could be reached and fed are expected.


Eltighani Elamin

Professor Eltighani Elamin (PhD)
Freelance consultant
Senior food/agriculture policy & capacity development specialist
Khartoum,  Sudan


George Kent University of Hawai'i (Emeritus), United States of America

To help get this conversation started, I would like to point out a study I did in 2003 for FAO: “Fish Trade, Food Security, and the Human Right to Adequate Food”.
The abstract reads:

 “In global fish trade, large volumes of fish are exported from poorer countries to richer countries. This trade can affect food security in different ways for different parties, depending on the particular local circumstances. In assessing the impacts of fisheries trade on food security, it is important to distinguish among the impacts on fish workers and their communities, on the general population, and on the poor, who are the most vulnerable to malnutrition. The benefits of fisheries trade are likely to be enjoyed primarily by those whose are already well off. The poor may benefit, but they may also be hurt. At times the harm may be quite direct, as when fish on which they had depended for their diet is diverted to overseas markets. At times the impacts may be indirect, as when export oriented fisheries deplete or otherwise harm fisheries that had traditionally been used to provide for local consumption. Export-oriented fisheries may divert resources such as labor and capital away from production for local consumption. Fish workers may benefit from new export oriented fisheries if they participate in them, but in some cases these workers are simply displaced from their traditional livelihoods. The human right to adequate food is now well articulated in international human rights law. Under this law, national governments and other agencies are required to respect, protect, facilitate, and fulfill the right to adequate food. This means that public agencies that oversee the management of fisheries, including fish trade, are obligated to assure that these activities contribute to the achievement of food security, especially for those who are most vulnerable to malnutrition. To this end, it would be useful for the international community to provide guidance on how this can be done. The Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries could be elaborated to provide this guidance, giving particular attention to the impacts of fish trade on food security.”

In 2012 the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food presented a report to the General Assembly giving a broader perspective on the right to food in relation to fisheries, available at

These documents raise some of the issues that should be considered in the forthcoming HLPE report on The Role of Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture for Food Security and Nutrition.

Aloha, George Kent

Alfredo Quarto Mangrove Action Project, United States of America

Dear Friends at CFS-HLPE,

I have some serious concerns about the future composition of your proposed study team addressing the stated theme “The Role of Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture for Food Security and Nutrition.” For one thing, I urge you to include representation on this team of artisenal fishers from local communities and Indigenous Peoples affected by industrial style aquaculture to ensure their voices are heard in regards to the food security issues.

Furthermore, I urge your candidature list to include representative regional members of community-based NGOs from the Global South where the majority of industrial aquaculture developments take place.

And, I urge that your study team begin by clearly defining the term “food security” whose meaning has been misconstrued as to what it really signifies and for whom it truly applies. In my 21 years working with Mangrove Action Project on these complex and troublesome issues, I have seen the food security of the importing nations being enhanced, but at the terrible costs to food security in the producer nations. Too often, in relation to farmed shrimp or salmon, so-called food security in the importing nations signifies food insecurity in the producer nations.

Alfredo Quarto, Executive Director

Mangrove Action Project