Fish, Food Security, and Combating Obesity in Pacific Island Countries
A key aim of this research is to support the development of a more integrated and holistic approach to address the double burden of under-nutrition in children and over-nutrition (obesity) in adults by positioning food security as the central drive for sustainably managing coastal fisheries in the Pacific islands.
This project was successful in receiving seed funding in 2013 to explore how increased availability of fresh fish compared to reduced availability, affects nutritional status among Pacific island populations. It looked at both direct benefits of fish consumption to nutritional status as well indirect benefits to nutritional status and food security improvements in fishing livelihoods.
Despite the significance of fisheries for food security in the Pacific Islands region, there is limited information available which links access to food, and specifically fish, to health outcomes of the region. The second phase of this research project will be conducted in close collaboration with regional studies by the Worldfish Center and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) to address this gap.
This project will examine trends in fish over time, contribution of household fresh and canned fish to diet quality, affordability of fresh and canned fish and the contribution of fish to nutrient intakes, health outcomes and food security.
The goal of this research will be to inform the development of more effective and integrated interventions to reduce household food insecurity, strengthen fisheries and coastal management and further prevent non-communicable diseases across the Pacific region which currently account for 60 – 80% of deaths.
Photo credit: Quentin Hanich
This project includes researchers from three faculties with expertise in Pacific Fisheries Management and development, nutrition and food security. The team has substantial background and expertise in Pacific field work and research partnerships with the Worldfish Center and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC).
Associate Professor Quentin Hanich is UOW's Fisheries Governance Program Leader at the Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security (ANCORS). He will oversee the project and will contribute expertise in Pacific fisheries governance and development. He has previously coordinated numerous expert workshops on fisheries, and advised regional institutions and national governments on fisheries governance and marine conservation. He has worked in the Asia Pacific region for 15 years.
Dr Aurélie Delisle is an Early Career Associate Research Fellow at ANCORS in the Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts. She will provide important expertise in analysing large economic datasets. ANCORS works closely with the Worldfish Center and SPC, and is currently collaborating with these agencies on two other externally funded projects.
Brooke Campbell is an Early Career Research Fellow at ANCORS in the Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts. She has led and been involved in a range of international inter-governmental, academic, and field-based research projects in marine fisheries and aquaculture ecology, policy, and resource development. She has worked with a wide range of fisheries stakeholders around the world and is specifically interested in sustainable and participatory natural resource management.
Associate Professor Karen Charlton is a public health nutritionist in the School of Medicine within the Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health. Her expertise lies in the intersection of nutrition and social structures with a special interest in public health and food security. She will analyse the nutritional aspects of food security and address the methodological issues relating to nutrition. A/Prof Charlton is a member of a reference committee, organised through the George Institute for Public Health, University of Sydney, to develop salt reduction strategies in the Pacific. Her links with the World Health Organization and previous work with the team will prove beneficial to harmonizing health-related activities in the Pacific.
Dr Joanna Russell is a lecturer in the School of Health and Society in the Faculty of Social Sciences. Her research interests include nutritional epidemiology analysing large datasets to assess relationships between chronic diseases and health behaviours with particular emphasis on food security and diet quality. She recently completed her PhD assessing food insecurity and diet quality in older adults with a focus on methodological issues. In this project she will analyse nutritional and health aspects related to food security.
Photo credit: Quentin Hanich