Fish plays an important role in fighting hunger and mal-nutrition and is the main source of animal protein in many developing countries. Seafood is not only a source of proteins and healthy long-chain omega-3 fats, but also an essential source of other nutrients like iodine, vitamin D and calcium, which are crucial to living a healthy life.
Here are 10 interesting facts we have gathered for you on fish and seafood:
- More than 3.1 billion people depend on fish for at least 20% of their total animal protein intake, and a further 1.3 billion people for 15% of animal protein intake.
- Fish consumption has increased from 9 kg per capita in 1961 to approximately 20 kg per capita today and is expected to reach 21.5 kg by 2024.
- The most caught species at global level is the Peruvian anchoveta – a large percentage of which ends up as fishmeal and fish oil. It is followed by Alaska pollock, skipjack tuna, Atlantic herring and chub mackerel.
- Often undervalued parts of the fish, like the head, viscera, and back-bones make up 30-70% of fish and are especially high in micronutrients.
- Seafood is in practice the only natural source of iodine. This crucial nutrient serves several purposes like aiding thyroid function. It is also essential for the neurodevelopment of children.
- Tuna bones used for fish powder can enrich traditional diets like maize flower with omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals such as iron, zinc and calcium.
- Gaining popularity in African countries like Uganda, seafood powders made from by-products or lake sardines provide missing nutrients to the primarily grain or starch-based diets of the region.
- Seafood products are among the most widely traded food commodities – totaling around US$ 145 billion per year.
- 35% of fish and seafood is lost or wasted – almost double the figures for losses for meat products.
- 8% of fish caught globally is thrown back into the sea. In most cases they are dead, drying or badly damaged.