Collaborators: Lora Iannotti (Washington University in St. Louis), Andrew Wamukota (Pwani University), Elizabeth Kamau-Mbuthia (Egerton University)
Goal: Develop a comprehensive inventory of coastal marine fish that are accessible and affordable and address nutrient deficiencies in vulnerable groups (pregnant women and children) in Kenya while not eroding ecosystem functioning.
Significance: Some of the most vulnerable people to malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies are those along Kenyan coastlines. Here, achieving sustainable fishing in overexploited small-scale fisheries and improving access to nutrient-rich fish has large-scale implications for food security.
Background: Coastal marine fisheries in Kenya have seen a four-fold decrease in their catch since the 1980’s. Nearly half of the Kenyan population lives below the poverty line, and vulnerable groups show low dietary diversity with only 21% of children less than five years in age reporting consumption of fish, meat, or poultry. An assessment of local marine fisheries using nutrition and health indicators in combination with information on local market conditions and social norms on fish consumption will identify sustainable pathways to improve food security. While some of these foods may already be coming from existing fisheries, identifying underutilized sources such as sea urchins is also important.
Funding: US Agency for International Development (USAID)