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

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

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Samuel Ayuba Hamisu

Yobe State College of Agriculture Gujba

Climate changes have impact on fishing in every part of the world. Most especially in some places that there are flooding a lot of destruction on fish farm occurred but nobody talk about the fishes. Fish farmers have major losses in the flood. Most of the fish ponds were wash away farmers suffer tremendous losses of their fishes.

This are the major reason HLPE is trying to make avenue for academician and group of expert to come together in e-consultation to figure a way out.

Developing of aquaculture and fisheries does not stand on artisans fishing alone, government and international community need to come together to build tower of expert because every government used to give attention on Crop farming  and neglect the fishery which is a big problem to fishing sector. Most especially Nigeria government spends billions annually importing fish into the country while there is a lot of water that its citizens can fish. Any country that needs to excel in fishery has to put these three aspects in cognizant.

Industrials trawlers which operate within the high sea which they do in industrial scale, artisanal fishing which harvest fish in the natural body of water which is normally done by the country. And aquaculture which is the actual fish farming, there is certain things that people does not realized  in fullest that is why a minimal allocation is being done in fishing sectors of some of the countries. Aquaculture which involves elites can contribute much to artisan fish farmers but to our dismay it found that in the coastal area, aquaculture had to be all over, but the practice was neglected in these regions.

Fish provides a very high percentage of nutrients to the health of human being such as protein, in Sub-sahara Africa many because of their health were instructed not to eat red meat accept fish to improve their health due to the nutritional content of the fish.

Some artisan fish farmers should be trained in such a manner that they could earn something for their survival, this will involve improve equipment such as out-board motors to give them access to deep water resources, appropriate nets, fishing gear and simple but better processing facilities this should involve drying smoking and so forth. Fish is an extremely perishable foodstuff. Spoilage start as soon as fish dies it will get spoiled within 12-20 hour depending on their species, methods of capture and the condition of the environment. So for preservation fish need to be dries or smoked to be able to store for long period to wait for the buyer. This innovation and recent one need to impart to artisan fish farmers to improve their earning and provide food security.

Fish handling to all tiers must cover various methods used by people involved in fisheries operation to ensure that the fish products are always in good condition to the end users.

This involved observing good quality measures, maintaining good hygiene and quality control. Such measures deter the prevention of the fish and made fish well acceptable to the consumers.

Once fish are harvested, they must be isolated from adverse sunlight/heat. If wanted alive they must be kept in good container with clean water within the shortage possible time. If wanted dead, the fish most starved or knocked at the head instantly without allowing it to struggle to dead.

The fish must be sorted out in species, age, sex, and size as desired

The fish must be gutted. This exercise should be carried out on boat (on the boat or canoe) by sliding the fish with a sharp knife from the neck to the vent and the gut viscera removed. Cutting helps to remove the bacteria and digestive juices which will accelerate autolysis and purification. The fish should be washed in clean water to remove the blood and debris. The offal’s can be properly saved for processing into feed meal and silage. Plastic boxes, aluminum balls or any other that will not retain stain and could be easily clean is better in fish storage in boat or canoes. Later the products (fish) should be chilled. The lower the temperature the better as long as the fish does not freeze. Fish can be process into many forms:

  • Fish meal.
  • Fish Silage.
  • Fish muse - used to produce fish cake, scourge and fish finger.

Alexandre Meybeck

FAO/UNEP Sustainable Food Systems Program

Dear HLPE Coordinator,

This draft and relative consultation are extremely welcome, especially as they give the opportunity to non fish specialists to consider fisheries and aquaculture in their relation to broader food security and sustainability.

In that respect this draft provides very usefull information and analysis. I also note that, given the topic, it provides an opportunity for much more specific discussions on nutrition than in previous reports.

It could still benefit from some aspects being more targetted to non fish specialists.

Two areas would, in that perspective, deserve more explanation:

- the Fisheries crisis p 29

- the Fisheries governance p 69. In particular some clear analysis for the layman on the way fish rights are determined and attributed, including at international level, what about quotas and transferable quotas.

The draft contains some preliminary thinking around the relations between sustainability and food security. It would very much benefit from a more structured approach in the introduction to the relations between the topic and the 4 dimensions of food security. A very good example of such an analysis is the introduction of the HLPE report on biofuels and food security. This would enable to better tacle the difficult question of the articulation of the 3 dimensions of sustainability (to which could be added governance) with the 4 dimensions of FS. This seems all the more important in relation with the notion of Sustainable Food Systems, considered in the other on going HLPE report.

In fact it could broaden the perspective of the report towards the contribution of Fisheries and Aquaculture to Sustainable Food Systems.

A key here could be a more structured approach to the notion of resource efficiency (see for instance section 2 of the paper on Ressources and Food Security prepared for the Food Security Futures and  accessible in a draft form at

Two points seem to me of particular relevance here:

- the comparisons made on contributions of various fisheries and aquaculture systems in terms of jobs (direct and indirect), income, nutrition...

- the efficiency of aquaculture to provide animal protein as compared to other forms of animal breeding (better efficiency to transform calories, less GHG emissions...). This is particularly important given the projected increased demand for animal products and actual needs in some regions. On top of course, as very well underlined in the draft are potential added benefits in terms of micronutrients.

In the same perspective it would be of value to add more on the relations of fisheries and aquaculture with other agricultural activities; particularly on integrated systems (such as rice/fish for instance) and on competition between sectors for land and especially water -for instance impact of irrigation on inland fisheries.

Finally, as the demand seems to be very much driven by rich consumers, this aspect would deserve to be properly considered in chapter 6 on prospective. The notion of Sustainable diets could be of interest here. Another point to be developed would certification and ecolabelling and the way they could benefit to sustainability (including social dimensions and potential impacts on small scale fisheries and aquaculture).

The recommendations could include the need to better integrate consideration of fisheries and aquaculture in broader strategies and plans for food security and/or agriculture as well as in some specific policy tools such as the NAPA s (National Adaptation Plans of Action) in the climate change area.

Best regards

Alexandre Meybeck

FAO/UNEP Sustainable Food Systems Program.

Nurul Istiqomah


Aquaculture Effluent: How to natural treatment

Dillution system of waste treatment will impact  Eutrophication in coastal and river area.

The impact of dillution system are  eutrophication of the water surrounding coastal and rivers areas. Fish excretion and fecal wastes combine with nutrients released from the breakdown of excess feed to raise nutrient levels well above normal, creating alga blooms. In Indonesia contaminated waste generated from industries, sewage, agriculture, aquaculture, etc. Once the resulting algal blooms die, they settle to the bottom where their decomposition depletes the oxygen. Before they die, however, there is the possibility that algal toxins are produced, the example is red tides. Although any species of phytoplankton can benefit from an increased nutrient supply, certain mplesspecies are noxious or even toxic to other marine organisms and to humans. The spines of some diatoms  can irritate the gills of fish, causemple is exang decreased production or even death8. More importantly, blooms ("red tides") of certain species such as Chattonella marina often produce biological toxins that can kill other organisms. Neurotoxins produced by several algal species can be concentrated in filter-feeding bivalves such as mussels and oysters, creating a serious health risk to people consuming contaminated shellfish.

Intensive Farming system   depend on a diet of artificial feed in pellet form. This feed is broadcast onto the surface of the water, and is consumed by the fish as it settles through the water column. Because not all the feed is eaten, a great deal of feed can reach the bottom where it is eaten by the benthos or decomposed by microorganisms. This alteration of the natural food web structure can significantly impact the local environment.The waste could be minimalization with natural management, like Moringa olifeira seed, Sargassum plagyophyllum, shellfish, ,polyculture with trophic level system, probiotic, etc

Dr. Nurul Istiqomah

From: Indonesia

Edel O. Elvevoll

University of Tromsø

Global major health problem of life style is the development of obesity  and related diseases like coronary heart e.g.. A relationship between fish consumption and reduced mortality due to cardiovascular diseases has been shown. Curiously, in most studies the positive effect has been attributed to the intake of marine fatty acids alone, although lean and fatty fish have given the same protective effects in many studies. The presence and significance of additional beneficial components from seafood have attracted attention. My group (Food Science) is for instance occupied with research and teaching in the occurrence and function of LMW compounds in seafood. Amino acids (AA), vitamins, minerals and trace elements have of utmost importance among these. The AA composition in food is the major determinant of the protein nutritional quality of seafood. The effects of specific AA related to human health from seafood are also studied.  Our main task here is to study losses of LMW compounds when processing or while preparing a meal. It is known that the nutritional quality depends on the quantity as well as the availability of the molecules. Processing makes food safer, tastier and more shelf-stable. On the other hand, processing can be detrimental, affecting the nutritional quality of foods.  Possible biological active compounds may also be extracted from wastes of seafood.   These could be used as dietary supplements or ingredients in foods (functional food). Fish wastes have a huge unexploited potential for value adding. The goal is to increase their use in foods, functional foods and biochemical products for human consumption. This area of research is expected to become even more important in the future since the amount of fish meal and oil is limited and new sources of biomass for food and feed have to be found.

Microalgae are the primary producers of many of the healthy components of seafood, like marine fatty acids og  the 3 series and AA. New technologies for the harvest at lower tropic levels as well as techniques or technologies, genetic selection, breeding, manipulating growing conditions that enable and accelerates microalgae (algea, bacteria  and zooplankton) ability to produce biomass for foods using standard industrial fermentation are rapidly evolving and in the  future this may be a key for enhanced  seafood  production.

Artificial upwelling

From the Norwegian report that focusses more on the economic  potential of  the ocean ( Attached) In particular for chapter 6.

Demand for food

In 2012 the world population reached the 7 billion mark, and is expected to be in excess of 9 billion in 2050. Almost the entire increase in population is anticipated to take place in cities in developing countries, where the numbers of people living in slum conditions is rising rapidly8. In 2010 there were almost 1 billion people suffering from malnutrition and in many countries 30-40% of agricultural production was lost. In order to keep pace with population increases and economic growth, which in turn increase the demand for food, overall food production must rise by 70% by 2050. Food from agricultural sources will most probably not be able to meet this need. Shortages of fresh water and the effects of climate change will reduce food production capacity in many regions.

Norway is currently responsible for the management of extensive tracts of highly productive ocean, and a coastline ideal for aquaculture production. For this reason, we have an ethical obligation to increase our exploitation of these areas in order to produce food, or products which themselves can be exploited for food production. In addition to traditional seafood, new food products can be produced from lower trophic levels, provided that harvesting is carried out on a sustainable basis. It is now possible to manufacture feed for the aquaculture sector, and to cultivate organisms which capture phosphates which are rapidly becoming very scarce as a source of fertilizer for global food production. Harvesting from the marine food chain is currently carried out at very high trophic levels at which stages the majority of primary production has been lost There is major potential in the harvesting of resources at lower trophic levels.


Edel O. Elvevoll

Dean, Professor

Faculty of Biosciences, Fisheries and Economics (BFE)

University of Tromsø (UoT)


N-9037 Tromsø



Directorate General of Aquaculture, Ministry of Marine Affairs and FisheriesDimyati Nangju

Dear Sir/Madam,

I have been requested by the Division of Program Cooperation, Directorate General of Aquaculture, Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, to provide you comments on HLPE Report "The Role of Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture for Food Security and Nutrition". The attached paper describe my comments on the Report. I sincerely hope that my comments would be constructive and useful.

Best regards,

Dr. Dimyati Nangju

Dilip Kumar


1) Bringing improvement in the implementation of CCRF:

- We must accept the fact that FAO CCRF is yet to be comprehended and operationalized in many countries due to poor capacity of the line department, socio-political reasons and lack of political will. Besides, there are a number of sustainability related issues which are cross-sectoral and hence go beyond the jurisdiction of the line agency (Department of Fisheries). There is an urgent need for creating Global, National and State / Provincial level Overview Committees (SOC) to guide and monitor the implementation of CCRF. These national and State level Committees would also provide cross-sectoral coordination support. Among other emerging issues the SOC will address inter-sectoral conflicts related to resource use, promote environmental protection and rehabilitation programme, facilitate pollution reduction, bring convergence between the programme and projects of various sectors and improve research – development linkage. Leadership of departments like Department of Irrigation, Department of Environment and Forest, Department of Water Resources, Department of Revenue, Department of Rural Development, Department of Urban Development, Pollution Control Boards, Department of Animal Husbandry, Department of Dairy, Financial institutions, Fisheries / Aquaculture Research Institutes and the Department of Fisheries be brought under the fold of this committee. The committee may meet once in six months to review the progress of implementation of CCRF and deliberate on emerging sustainability issues and suggest future course of action.

- Encouraging and assisting the countries in developing long term plan and policies for the development of fisheries sector with due priority to environmental, social, nutritional and livelihood security under the overall framework of CCRF. Highlighting expected outputs in terms of nutritional security (per capita availability of fish to the native population), generation of additional employment, income generation (poverty to prosperity) and restoration of environment would be highly useful in convincing the policy makers and drawing their support.


2) How will nations maintain the integrity of the resources…….

- Government in general view the fisheries and aquaculture resources as a source of revenue generation and as such considerable time and efforts are directed towards generating revenue thereby resource sustainability concerns becomes secondary. If the national governments are made to realize that mainstreaming sustainability concerns across the resource user communities and assisting / empowering them in achieving their goals of livelihoods, environmental and nutritional  security would equally help the state in realizing its inclusive economic growth objectives while reducing system loss.

- In many countries aquaculture and fisheries are not treated at par with agriculture in terms of allocation of water, water and power tariff and taxation. This anomaly is to be removed.


3) Socio-economic issues affecting sustainability …………….

- Poverty – resource degradation / over-exploitation of resource nexus.

- Existing access and use rights policies deserves improvement for the promotion of stewardship and assuming greater role of communities in resource use planning and responsible utilization of resources.

- Fisheries /aquaculture facilitates and encourages harvesting of rain and flood waters, holding them in undrainable ponds, floodplains, reservoirs, lakes etc., and allow these ecosystems in producing goods such as fish, aquatic fruits, plants, etc., and performing a range of other ecosystem services like supporting aquatic and terrestrial biodiversity, recharging ground water table and making water available for domestic use, irrigation, livestock animals, etc. All these clearly indicate the potential of complementarity of fisheries and aquaculture with other farming practices like livestock, dairy, horticulture, agriculture, etc., is enormous and deserves priority attention for development of integrated resource use.


4) To what extent can contribution be made to policy development …………..

- Co-management / Community based management regime be made mandatory for receiving subsidies with regard to Common Pool Property Resources. 


5) Gender specific needs………….

- Housing facilities are extended to fishing communities as welfare measure. By giving ownership of the house to the women member of the family would help women in accessing institutional finance and other entitlements. 

- Small-scale ornamental fish breeding and rearing enterprise be kept reserved for women.

- Similarly, women members of the farm family be given priority for receiving subsidy and other incentives meant for homestead pond based aquaculture.


6) What continuous improvements …….

- Institutional strengthening in the fisheries sector with special attention towards improvement of data base, introduction of computer based monitoring and evaluation system, strengthening of fisheries extension services and introducing a strong component  on social mobilization to facilitate strengthening of community organizations.

- Greater involvement of NGOs as service providers especially in the area of community empowerment, delivery of extension services, etc.


7) How sustainable aquaculture …………….

- Fish health / disease management be adequately incorporated in aquaculture package of practices

- Quarantine, health certification and regulation related to transboundry movement of aquatic animals be strengthened and enforced

- CCRF and other guidelines be followed for the introduction of exotics

- Replacing fish meal with vegetable protein rich feed ingredients.

- Promotion of aquaculture practices which depend largely on primary productivity and where application of feed is supplemental

- Promotion of rain fed undrainable earthen ponds which rely on harvesting and holding of rainwater.


Dilip Kumar

International Civil Service (FAO of UN)- Retired

Ex-Director / VC, CIFE (ICAR), Mumbai

Fisheries Development Advisor- Government of UP, MP and Bodoland Territorial Development Council (BTC)

Yemi Oloruntuyi

Developing World Fisheries
United Kingdom

Dear Moderator

Please find my input to your consultation  on the Role of Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture for Food Security and Nutrition.

Thank you for the invitation and opportunity to provide comments on the planned work.

Kind regards.


Comment -

With respect to issue 1 - Fisheries ecolabelling schemes that operationalize the FAO code of conduct provide viable mechanisms for fisheries to implement the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible fishing.  Many fisheries are using Fisheries Improvement Projects   as a route to work towards improving sustainability and meet fishery ecolabelling performance standards. The incentive of market support for sustainability provides strong encouragement for fisheries to improve practices and ultimately reap economic benefits from being sustainable.  These benefits ensure the continued sustenance of the resource and ensure that livelihoods and food security is safeguarded.

The study will benefit from a review of the development and evolution of these Fishery Improvement Project  initiatives and from exploring  how uptake of Fisheries Improvement Projects may be scaled up to increase the extent of participation of fisheries in FIPs.   This issue is also related to issue 3.  The market should reward fishers for good stewardship of resources.   Sustainability as a value-added attribute ensures sustainable growth.  

 With respect to issue 6, the lack of data for fisheries in many countries is a severe constraint to successful management of fisheries resources in many instances. Improved capacity for research and fisheries studies will be hugely beneficial to fisheries. Fisheries research particularly for developing countries needs to be tailored to country specific needs and needs to be affordable.   Development of capacity in fisheries research will contribute immensely to sustainable management.  The study should pay attention to understanding means and mechanisms to improve research capacity and identification of cost effective research tools and methods.

On the last issue, issue 10, the importance of resource accountability cannot be overestimated.  It should in fact be treated as a separate component worthy of attention in own right.  Transparency of information about fisheries resources, allocation, management and data will empower stakeholders to be able to participate effectively in how fisheries resources are managed and to robustly challenge misuse or misappropriation of fisheries resources. Access of stakeholders to fisheries information needs to improve to match opportunities provided in a digital age. Some of the challenges of accountability are related to data limitations. The lack of robust findings from credible research   can often mean there is in fact no information available that can be used to hold management to account. The study should explore factors limiting transparency of information in fisheries information systems used in the fisheries sector and should aim at understanding constraints to sharing information with a view to identifying and recommending policies to ensure information about fisheries is more widely shared by government with the general public and key stakeholder groups.

Henrik Weisser

Norwegian Ministry of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs

Fish contains a number of healthy properties important to human health. That is why nutrition is mentioned i.e. in the Rio+20 declaration where the role of fish and food  security is touched upon. It is important to include the nutritional aspect of fish consumption in all deliberations on how fisheries and aquaculture can contribute to global food security. This HLPE report is no exception. We therefore propose that a separate key issue covering this issue is added to the Terms of Reference, or otherwise included in the Terms of Reference. Attached you will find a Norwegian text proposal that we ask the HLPE Steering Committee to consider.

Kind regards,

Henrik H. Weisser

Senior Adviser

Norwegian Ministry of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs

Seafood department