As the biodiversity of freshwater fish declines, what does this mean for human nutrition? Declining fish diversity in the Loreto department of the Peruvian Amazon could affect nutrition for many of the region’s 800,000 people, according to new study published in the journal Science Advances. In Loreto, people eat fish at least once a day, or about 52 kilograms (115 pounds) of fish per year, and rely on fish as a major source of protein, fatty acids and essential vitamins and minerals such as iron and calcium. “If fish decline, the quality of the diet will decline,” the study’s senior co-author, Shahid Naeem, director of Columbia University’s Earth Institute Center for Environmental Sustainability told Colombia Climate School. “Things are definitely declining now, and they could be on the path to crashing eventually.” A fishmonger processes a dorado catfish (Brachyplatystoma rousseauxii) in the Belén Market in Iquitos, Peru. This fish is long distant migrant that is vulnerable to overfishing and dam development. Photo by Sebastian Heilpern. To assess the region’s fish, researchers set out to the early morning markets. The study’s lead author, then-Columbia Ph.D. student Sebastian Heilpern, visited fishing docks and ports at 3:30 am, as well as two major retail markets in the towns of Belén and Iquitos later in the morning. On those morning excursions, Heilpern and another student bought a few samples of every fish species they could find. In the end, they found 56 out of around 60 of the region’s known food species. “I like…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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