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Media opportunity: Scientists make treasure trove of fish nutritional data publicly available in bid to help tackle global malnutrition
Scientists from around the world are making a vital trove of data about the nutritional value of fish freely available to the public -- a measure that fills a knowledge gap and will bolster efforts to tackle malnutrition around the world.
The information follows the release of a highly cited study on fish and nutrition in 2019 that led to the development of a finfish nutrient composition database, which was used to create predictive models of the availability of nutrients from the world’s fisheries.
Now, crucial information for more than 5,000 freshwater and marine fish species is being made available to scientists, policy makers, managers, academics and others involved in developmental work.
Dr. Aaron MacNeil, an associate professor in Dalhousie University’s Department of Biology and the Ocean Frontier Institute,developed the models that make these predictions possible and worked on data integration and the generation of predicted nutrient values for species for which we don’t have data.
On June 23, Dr. MacNeil and his colleagues will launch the addition of the data to FishBase – an online encyclopedia of fish with information on more than 34,000 freshwater and marine species. Available in 14 languages, the database is visited by more than 900,000 people each month, including fisheries biologists, managers, ecologists and sustainability scientists.
The initiative is driven by an international partnership of leading experts from the Ocean Frontier Institute, FishBase, WorldFish, the Lancaster Environment Centre, the Sea Around Us at the University of British Columbia, the Minderoo Foundation and other organisations.
Dr. MacNeil is available to discuss the project and how it is hoped that by adding the information to the ‘global commons’ it can be used to identify how and where fisheries can help address malnutrition, identify vulnerabilities in food systems, and develop an evidence base to support the protection of local food ecosystems.
Senior Research Reporter
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