Please note this event will take online via Zoom. Attendees will need to have a Zoom account to access the webinar, a free Zoom account can be set up at registration.
Speaker: Christina Hicks, Lancaster University
Fish are rich in multiple micronutrients, essential fatty acids, and protein, providing a powerful contribution to the diets of over 3 billion people, and a particularly valuable source of nutrition for vulnerable and marginalised peoples. Over 90% of the world’s fishers are small scale, the majority of whom live in Africa or Asia, where malnutrition is most prevalent. However, marine ecosystems are amongst those most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Climate induced habitat destruction and species relocation mean much of the tropics are projected to experience large declines in catch potentials, while areas closer to the poles are expected to experience gains. These shifts in species abundances and availability impact the micronutrients available to coastal populations, with ramifications to human health, cultural identities, and economies. But, climate pressures are operating on an already uneven playing field. Aquatic food systems generate wealth in centres of wealth. These benefits in turn exert pressures onto lower income regions where aquatic food systems provide critical welfare sustaining functions, such as the provision of livelihoods and nutrient dense foods in areas where these are often lacking. However, when fisheries management can support more sustainable catches, climate induced changes to fisheries can result in increased nutrient yields. Similarly, when fisheries and nutrition policies are sensitive to gender and social difference, aquatic food systems can support more equitable outcomes. Thus opportunities exist to sustain the nutritional benefits of aquatic foods and support more equitable distributions of aquatic food system benefits. These opportunities include investing in local fisheries management, developing policies that acknowledge the structural drivers of injustice, and ensuring coordination exists between fisheries- and nutrition-related policies.
Christina is an Environmental Social Scientist interested in how social, ecological, and institutional settings shape food, conservation, and governance outcomes across aquatic and coastal systems. Her work is focused on enabling equitable livelihoods, securing nutritious and sustainable diets, and supporting just approaches to conservation. Christina works closely with ecologists, development and government agencies, and with journalists committed to socially conscious publishing. She is coordinating lead author on the IPBES assessment on the sustainable use of wild species, and on the UN Food System Summit and Stanford Blue Food Assessment leadership teams. She is a professor within the Political Ecology group at Lancaster University’s Environment Centre, and adjunct at James Cook University. Christina’s work takes a global focus. Her current field work focuses on East and West Africa, and is funded through an ERC grant, and a Phillip Leverhulme Prize.
The talk will be followed by an online Q&A session.
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