Fish consumption pathways and food security in an Indonesian fishing community

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Coastal communities in Indonesia are often prone to food insecurity because they are highly dependent on fisheries for income and subsistence. However, connections between fish and food security have received limited attention in the national fisheries discourse; Indonesian fisheries are managed according to production-based indicators, despite the important roles that access and distribution play in mediating how fish are used and valued. Combining value chain analysis (VCA) and a “fish as food” framework, we administer survey interviews to members of a small Indonesian fishing community regarding species catch, on-island exchange of fish, and the role of fish species in the broader diet. Our mixed-methods approach and data aim to characterize links between fish harvest and consumption. Two questions guide the research: i) How do the island’s fisheries influence access to fish for household consumption? ii) What defines fish dependency in this community? Our findings indicate that island harvest and consumption are dominated by small pelagic species caught by commercial crews; however, small-scale fishers play a key role in providing fish during low catch periods. Catch and consumption are seasonally dependent: households reduce their fish consumption and substitute for less preferred farmed (milk)fish during windy seasons. Evidence of market-based fish trade and strong associations between dietary diversity and non-fish food groups suggest that food security in this community is more related to income from fishing than direct consumption of fish. To address the food security implications of fisheries management, there is a need for coordination among fisheries and public health sectors.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Food Security