Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: New York
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Heilpern S, Fiorella K, Canas C, Flecker A, Moya L, Naeem S, Sethi SA, Uriarte M, DeFries R. (2021) Substitution of inland fisheries with aquaculture and chicken undermines human nutrition in the Peruvian Amazon. Nature Food, 2:192-197.


Maintaining nutrient supplies in the face of declining capture fisheries production may require substituting wild fish with economically comparable farmed animals. Although such dietary transitions are commonplace across global inland and coastal communities dependent on small-scale fisheries, their nutritional consequences are unknown. Here, using detailed human demographic and fish nutritional data from the Peruvian Amazon, we show that substituting wild fisheries with aquaculture and chicken has the potential to limit iron and fatty acid access. However, chicken, in particular, can increase zinc and protein supplies. Considering that farmed foods may contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and land use, strategies that work to maintain access to wild resources while improving the quality, diversity and environmental impacts of farmed foods can contribute to the long term diversity and sustainability of food systems.