New era of fisheries policy needed to secure nutrition for millions

May 17, 2013 — A new study published in PNAS argues that for fisheries policies to be effective they must take in to account not just fish stock conservation and environmental issues, but also research data on the patterns and dynamics of fish trade, markets and user consumption.

Securing the critical contribution of wild fish stocks to food and nutrition security in the developing world depends on better governance and management of the fisheries sector.

Fish is a key source of animal protein, fatty acids, vitamins, and micronutrients like iron and zinc that contribute to a balanced diet, and is a particularly important food source in many developing countries.

A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America argues that for fisheries policies to be effective they must take in to account not just fish stock conservation and environmental issues, but also research data on the patterns and dynamics of fish trade, markets and user consumption.

“This is particularly important in the developing world, where the countries whose populations are most dependent on fish for nutrition are found,” says Director General of WorldFish, Dr. Stephen J. Hall, lead author of the paper.

Fisheries don’t exist in isolation and multi-sectoral perspectives and approaches need to be developed and supported to ensure policies also consider the millions of small-scale fishers.

“These fishers often work part-time during times of seasonal hunger or temporary unemployment, and the ways that they catch, prepare and sell fish are diverse. Policies need to take in to account the varying contexts that fisheries exist in. A ‘one size fits all’ policy is destined to fail,” says Dr. Hall.

Policies developed for open ocean trawlers whose catch is primarily destined for an export market must be different to those for small-scale fishers selling their catch to local customers.

This will help to ensure a constant supply of good quality fish for consumers, a satisfactory standard of living vital for millions of fishers, and the sustainability of wild fish stocks.

FAO estimates that 30% of the world’s fish stocks were over-exploited, depleted or recovering in 2009, and this number is increasing.

While aquaculture is the fastest growing agricultural sector for most developing countries, its growth and production rate cannot replace capture fisheries or even make up losses of local wild fish in the next 10 to 15 years.

The paper is highly relevant for responding with effective and efficient policies to the strategic challenges fisheries will face in the future.

The authors argue that such policies will have to consider the appropriate level for decentralized decision making, the primacy of genuine stakeholder dialogues, the inclusion of the whole value chain for fish and the incorporation of fisheries in the perspective of other sectors of the economy and rural development.

With such policies we will secure wild fish stocks, ensure an income for fishers, and food and nutrition security for consumers throughout the developing world.

Leggi il seguito

Making ice-cream more nutritious with meat left-overs

May 20, 2013 — Most of the animal proteins found in the meat industry waste have, until now, been underutilised. The challenge is to transform such waste into food of higher functionality and added value. Thanks to the findings of the EU funded PROSPARE project, it is possible to reuse the protein and lipid fraction of disused food, according to project co-ordinator Arnaldo Dossena, who is the head of the food science department at theUniversity of Parma, in Italy.

Up to 50% of the animal weight processed in the meat industry is discarded as left-overs and ends up composted or incinerated, despite beingrich in proteins and lipids. Turning the lipid fraction of such waste into biodiesel has proven too expensive. So the focus is now on reusing proteins. Today, only 22% is converted by the food industry into feed and barely 3% is consumed as food. The problem is that recovery methods are energy intensive. They also convert the source proteins into meals with poorer digestibility and nutrient properties as well as a low commercial value.

Thanks to a process involving enzymes to digest food, poultry left-overs such as bone and meat trimmings can be converted into proteins dubbed functional animal proteins hydrolyzates. They differ from existing protein hydrolyzates, from eggs, buttermilk, or fish already on the market in that they have a higher content of nutritionally useful amino acids. They can be used as supplements for sports diet, to help build up muscle tissue, and as additives in processed food, for example. So far, some of their properties — namely prebiotic, antimicrobiotic, antioxidant and hypotensive — have been demonstrated in vitro.

The technology developed under the project is now being tested by a Belgian food company, called PROLIVER. It is hoping to enhance the nutritional quality of its protein hydrolysates, already sold in dietary, health and sports food supplements. One of the project partners, Mobitek-M, which is a Russian company specialised in production of protein-enriched food stuffs, is also planning on including these products into ice-cream, under the follow-up Rosano Project. They have built a plant in the Belgorod region of the Russian Federation, which is about to start of transforming functional animal protein at a capacity of one hundred tonnes per day.

Some see a real advantage in this approach. “I think in Europe the most important part of such an approach is to reduce the impact of the [food] production on the environment,” explains Vegard Segtnan, senior researcher at the Norwegian Institute of Food, Fishery and Aquaculture Nofima, located in Tromsø. He also believes that there is also a market for these specialised protein products that are easily assimilated by the body for sick people, the elderly and athletes. “The materials have a one up to two years shelf life,” Dossena says, “[they] can be used to increase the protein count where there is a protein deficit since they contain many free amino acids [which are therefore easily absorbed].”

These products aim to complete the gamut of protein-based products present on the market. However, there is currently no EU-wide specific regulations for them. Instead, they are approved on a case-by-case basis in individual EU countries. Protein hydrolyzates approved in national EU markets need to qualify as a specific food product category, according to Karin Verzijden, a food regulatory expert at law firm Axon lawyers, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. For example, these products might qualify as dietary supplements. “It really depends on the emphasis that is put on their ability to be digested much quicker than regular proteins for instance,” Verzijden said.

In addition to qualifying as food dietary supplement, experts disagree as to whether they might either qualify as novel foods used as food ingredients, or as additives. It partly depends on whether they were not already used for human consumption within the EU market prior to 1997, when the EU novel food regulation entered into force. Until further clarity regarding the food category these applications would be considered under by the food regulator at EU-wide level, it may be a while before they reach their potential users.

Leggi il seguito

Utilizzando il sito, accetti l'utilizzo dei cookie da parte nostra. maggiori informazioni

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close