Aquaculture is one of the fastest-growing food production sectors in many low-income and food-deficit countries with aquatic ecozones. Yet its specific impact on nutrition and livelihood in local communities, where commercial and/or export-orientated aquaculture activities are developed, is largely unknown.
The present narrative and argumentative review aims to provide an overview of our current understanding of the connections between aquaculture agroecosystems, local and national fish production, fish consumption patterns and nutrition and health outcomes.
The agroecological dynamic in a coastal-estuarine zone, where the aquatic environment ranges from fully saline to freshwater, is complex, with seasonal and annual fluctuations in freshwater supply creating a variable salinity gradient which impacts on aquatic food production and on food production more generally. The local communities living in these dynamic aquatic ecozones are vulnerable to poverty, poor diet and health, while these ecosystems produce highly valuable and nutritious aquatic foods. Policies addressing the specific challenges of risk management of these communities are limited by the sectoral separation of aquatic food production – the fisheries and aquaculture sector, the broader food sector – and public health institutions.
Here we provide an argument for the integration of these factors to improve aquaculture value chains to better address the nutritional challenges in Bangladesh.