Despite strong economic growth, Asia remains home to an estimated 400 million people living in extreme poverty below USD 1.90 a day. More than two-thirds of all wasted children under the age of 5 and approximately 55 percent (83.6 million) of all stunted children live in the region.
Asia is the world’s largest producer of aquatic foods from both aquaculture and capture fisheries, employing 85 percent of the world’s fishers and aquaculture workers.
Consumption of aquatic foods is growing in the region, with Southeast Asia already registering the world’s highest rate of consumption at over 35 kg per capita.
Climate change poses a major threat, with an increase in flooding and salinization in coastal areas and major deltas. In addition, plastic pollution threatens marine biodiversity, and the estimated damage to key marine ecosystems in the region, including the Bay of Bengal, costs up to USD 13 billion annually.
To secure healthy and sustainable diets for all, more research and investment are required. What is needed are well-integrated policies, technologies, infrastructure and value chains that balance economic growth with considerations of food security and nutrition, gender and social inclusion, climate resilience and environmental protection.
WorldFish has research programs in South Asia and the Greater Mekong Basin. Our research in the region is focused on: developing sustainable aquaculture; integrating aquaculture with agriculture; increasing small-scale aquaculture productivity; rehabilitating and sustaining coastal fisheries; increasing the production and consumption of small-fish for nutrition and health; and promoting inland fisheries co-management approaches.