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Decrease in financial aid for fisheries in developing countries

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Monday, January 22, 2018, 23:00 (GMT + 9)

A new study carried out by the University of British Columbia (UBC) and Stockholm Resilience Centre researchers determined that financial aid to fisheries in developing countries has declined by 30 percent.

In particular, programs focused on the impact of climate on fisheries were reduced by 77 percent in the five years covered by the study, which was published in the journal Marine Policy.

Co-author Colette Wabnitz, Research Associate at UBC’s Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries and the Nippon Foundation– UBC Nereus Program , emphasizes that “sustainable fisheries make good economic sense not only as a source of employment and regular catches, but also because of their nutritional value.”

“Investments in small-scale, sustainable fisheries enhance climate change resilience and give vulnerable communities access to healthy food while preserving traditional diets,” she added.

Official Development Assistance (ODA) levels - financial aid for the developing world  - increased around 13 percent from 2010 to 2015, representing an estimated amount of USD 133 billion, with further increases in 2016 and 2017. However, funding to fisheries projects in Oceania decreased by almost half.

ODA funds allow people to fish more sustainably, protect the environment, and create better jobs. These funds are used in fisheries for conducting research, supporting policy, providing equipment, as well as training and capacity building.

Projects that receive funding include a wide range of topics, such as water quality testing and ocean acidification measurement, the improvement of marketplaces, local staff training, and providing solar-powered fridges to remote communities to reduce spoilage and losses,  Wabnitz explained.
Small Island Developing States that rely on fisheries for food security, livelihoods, customs, and culture, will be the most affected by this loss of funding aid.

As many islands on the Pacific and coastal low-income communities do not have land area to develop agriculture,they will also be dramatically affected, since they are especially reliant on the micronutrients provided by fish.

“Tremendous advances in modeling have made it possible to identify countries that will be more vulnerable to climate change impacts. Science is enabling practical action to prioritize the most vulnerable areas, in line with stated international commitments,” Robert Blasiak, postdoctoral researcher at the Stockholm Resilience Center and a member of the Nereus program of the Nippon Foundation, says.

“Fisheries are at the nexus of health, nutrition, livelihoods, and economic security, if aid can help to get fisheries “right”, the positive impacts will extend into lots of areas,” the researcher added.

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