Freshwater, Fish and the Future: Proceedings of the Global Cross-Sectoral Conference

How National Household Consumption and Expenditure Surveys Can Improve Understanding of Fish Consumption Patterns within a Country and the Role of Inland Fisheries in Food Security and Nutrition

Simon Funge-Smith


Abstract .—Inland fisheries are vital to the livelihoods of some rural peoples and contribute a major source of protein, especially for vulnerable populations. Moreover, inland fisheries provide a major source of food and food security throughout the Asian region but are often overlooked in national statistics and in considerations of food security. Sixty-five percent of the reported global fish catch from inland fisheries is produced by 11 countries in the Asian region. Due to the poor quality of reporting of inland fisheries, there is low confidence in the data, and this prevents effective analysis at the subnational level. Inland fish, are, therefore, all but invisible in official fish production figures.

The consumption of fish, however, can be estimated by national household surveys. These surveys are carried out on a regular basis and to a high level of statistical accuracy and can provide a wealth of information about consumption patterns and habits. These data can also play a vital role in the development of fisheries and natural resource policies that may have considerable impact on the most vulnerable segments of the population.

This paper reports some results based on a regional review of fish and fish product consumption derived from national household consumption and expenditure surveys. It also explores the implications for the use of this type of national household consumption and expenditure surveys for improving our understanding of inland fisheries and fish consumption. The paper concludes by discussing some of the weaknesses in the use of surveys and how these may be improved to provide far more effective information in support of understanding inland fisheries and its role in food security