Georgina Smith, 2012

Global workshop closes with commitment to enabling environment for new research on fish for nourishment

Participants at the Global Workshop on Nutrition-sensitive Fish Agri-food Systems which closed 8 December in Siem Reap, Cambodia agreed that while evidence is mounting that fish is a solid investment choice, in particular for reducing global undernutrition, more needs to be done to build the case.

The workshop also saw an announcement that WorldFish has become an official member of the Scaling UP Nutrition (SUN) movement. SUN is a global push for action to improve nutrition of all - especially women and children.

Incoming WorldFish Director General, Gareth Johnstone: “It’s clear that a more compelling case to better understand how fish production and consumption can impact the lives of the poor needs to be made. At WorldFish, I commit to creating an enabling environment for better research and better research collaborations that will make a clearer link between fish agri-food systems and development outcomes including livelihoods and food and nutrition security.”

Shakuntala Thilsted, Research Program Leader, Value Chains and Nutrition: “Global reports on agriculture are produced that too often make marginal reference to fish and its contribution to livelihoods and food and nutrition security. Membership of SUN will allow us to gain more visibility for fish as a critical means to address nutrition and health. At this workshop, I was particularly pleased to see strong statements of support from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, IFAD, JICA, USAID and the World Bank among others, in particular recognizing the importance of fish and the need to make nutrition-sensitive investments.”

The Global Workshop on Nutrition-sensitive Fish Agri-food Systems, was convened by WorldFish with support from IFAD, the European Union and the Royal Government of Cambodia and was held in Siem Reap, Cambodia, 5-8 December 2017. The event was opened by H.E. Dr. Yim Chhay Ly, Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of Council for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD), Royal Government of Cambodia

Robert Bertram, Chief Scientist for USAID's Bureau for Food Security, emphasized the importance of fish for poorer households during the closing session: "People recognize that fish is an especially nutritious food -- this is widely understood. What is less well known is how critical fish is to the diets of the poor in many countries where we work. Using fish more comprehensively can help achieve food security that is sustainable and highly effective in advancing our nutrition goals."

The event saw 150 participants from 20 countries discussing a need to shift from fish production approaches to fish agri-food systems that are more geared to nutrition-sensitive outcomes.

Participants at the workshop, including representatives of governments, UN organizations, NGOs and research institutes reflected that fish agri-food systems were not as well researched as other areas of agriculture making informed decisions on how to invest difficult.

Through the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the world has committed to ending all forms of malnutrition. Reorienting food systems across all actors and levels, towards improving nutrition outcomes (nutrition-sensitive food systems) is central to achieving this goal, as was recognized in the second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) Framework for Action and further strengthened by the declaration of the United Nations Decade of Action on Nutrition 2016-2025. The CGIAR has also committed to improvements in food and nutrition security with specific targets for increasing dietary diversity of women and reducing micronutrient deficiencies up to 2030. Fish is uniquely placed to contribute to this goal, yet has received inadequate attention in debates on nutrition-sensitive food systems.

See video interviews from participants:

Samuel Thevasagayam, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Joyce Njoro, IFAD
Richard Abila, IFAD
Shunji Sugiyama, JICA
Hamady Diop, NEPAD (New Partnership for Africa’s Development) Agency
Pawan Patil, World Bank
Rob Bertram, USAID
Shahuntala Thilsted, WorldFish

For more information or to request an interview contact:
Toby Johnson, Head of Communications
Mobile Tel: +60 (0) 175 124 606

About WorldFish

WorldFish is an international, nonprofit research organization that harnesses the potential of fisheries and aquaculture to reduce hunger and poverty. Globally, more than one billion poor people obtain most of their animal protein from fish and 800 million depend on fisheries and aquaculture for their livelihoods. WorldFish is a member of CGIAR, a global research partnership for a food-secure future.

About FISH

Pursuing a research agenda through a network of multistakeholder partners, the CGIAR Research Program on Fish Agrifood Systems (FISH) enhances the contributions of fisheries and aquaculture to reducing poverty and improving food security and nutrition. FISH brings together a unique set of multi-stakeholder partnerships to harness emerging science in aquaculture and fisheries to deliver development outcomes at scale. FISH is led by WorldFish, together with the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University, Australia; the International Water Management InstituteNatural Resources Institute at the University of Greenwich (NRI), Englandand Wageningen University, Netherlands. In regional contexts, the program partners work closely with governments, NGOs, the private sector and research organizations to influence national, regional and global policy and development practice.


CGIAR is a global research partnership for a food-secure future. Its science is carried out by the 15 research Centers that are members of the CGIAR Consortium, in collaboration with hundreds of partners.