In a Perfect World Anchovies Could be the Silver Bullet for Malnutrition in Peru

Source: Hakai Magazine/Lily Strelich - May 19, 2017 in Environment

In a Perfect World Anchovies Could be the Silver Bullet for Malnutrition in Peru
Photo: Paul Asman/Jill Lenoble/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0)

On a soccer field 3,000 meters above sea level, Quechua healthcare workers with Sacred Valley Health attach a measuring tape to a goalpost. One by one, toddlers are tempted with stickers to hold still against the tape. It’s market day in Huillac, Peru, and parents have brought their children to receive vitamins and have their growth recorded. In this small rural town in the central Andes, roughly half of the children fall below the global average height as laid out by the World Health Organization’s child growth standards. Here, half of all children are anemic, and the rate of child malnourishment can top 70 percent.

Meanwhile, a few hundred kilometers away, the Peruvian coast is home to the world’s largest single-species fishery, a commercial behemoth that brings in up to 12 million tonnes of fish a year. Here, the Peruvian anchoveta thrives in the cold, nutrient-rich waters of the Humboldt Current. This svelte silver anchovy is one of the world’s most abundant fish, but a measly two percent of the catch is eaten by the locals—the vast majority is turned into fish meal or oil, and shipped to farmers and aquaculturists around the world to feed shrimp, cattle, and other livestock.

Read Full Story

To view the Creative Commons license for the image, click here.

Print article