Rethinking Farmed Fish Consumption in the Global South

Aquaculture’s contributions to food security in the Global South are widely misunderstood.

November 17, 2017 - Author: Ben Belton

Fish wholesale market in Yangon, Myanmar (Photo: Ben Belton, 2017)
Fish wholesale market in Yangon, Myanmar (Photo: Ben Belton, 2017)

Belton, B., Bush, S.R., Little, D.C. 2018. Not Just for the Wealthy: Rethinking farmed fish consumption in the Global South. Global Food Security.

ABSTRACT
Aquaculture’s contributions to food security in the Global South are widely misunderstood. Dominant narratives suggest that aquaculture contributes mainly to international trade benefiting richer Northern consumers, or provides for wealthy urban consumers in Southern markets. On the supply side, the literature promotes an idealized vision of ‘small-scale’, low input, semi-subsistence farming as the primary means by which aquaculture can contribute to food security, or emphasizes the role of ‘industrial’ export oriented aquaculture in undermining local food security. In fact, farmed fish is produced predominantly by a ‘missing middle’ segment of commercial and increasingly intensive farms, and overwhelmingly remains in Southern domestic markets for consumption by poor and middle income consumers in both urban and rural areas, making an important but underappreciated contribution to global food security.  

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