At present, small pelagic forage fish species (includes anchovies, herring, mackerel, sardines, etc.) represent the largest landed species group in capture fisheries (27.3 million t or 29.7% of total capture fisheries landings in 2006). They also currently constitute the major species group actively fished and targeted for nonfood uses, including reduction into fishmeal and fish oil for use within compound animal feeds, or for direct animal feeding; the aquaculture sector alone consumed the equivalent of about 23.8 million t of fish (live weight equivalent) or 87% in the form of feed inputs in 2006. This article attempts to make a global analysis of the competition for small pelagic forage fish for direct human consumption and nonfood uses, particularly concerning the important and growing role played by small pelagic forage fish in the diet and food security of the poor and needy, especially within the developing countries of Africa and the Sub-Saharan region.
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Vol. 38 • No. 6