National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC)
1 Park Place, Suite 300
Annapolis, MD 21401
The Impact of Global Fisheries Declines on Human Nutrition.
Seminar presented by Dr. Christopher Golden, Harvard University.
The greatest challenge facing our planet is the need to feed the 9 billion people expected to inhabit the Earth by 2050 without compromising its natural systems. Global fisheries are a pillar of human nutrition, as a source of protein, calories, and critical micronutrients like iron, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins. Deficiencies of these micronutrients lead to severe health consequences, and more than a billion people depend on subsistence fisheries to meet their basic requirements. Yet, an estimated 93% of fished stocks are fully or overexploited. By 2050, researchers have shown that increasing sea temperature will drive fisheries from the equator toward the poles and cause coral bleaching, reducing available fish for consumption in the tropics. Thus, fish are projected to become rarer in the areas where they are most needed to supply these micronutrients. Despite the immense potential impacts of fisheries decline on the global poor, we are unprepared to predict and respond to this emerging threat to global health. I plan to present ongoing case studies investigating the relationship between fisheries management and human nutrition in the context of climate change in the Solomon Islands, Philippines, Bangladesh, and British Columbia. Additionally, I will speak to new work focusing on coral-reef based food systems at both global and local scales.
About the speaker: Dr. Christopher Golden is an Assistant Professor of Planetary Health and Nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. As an ecologist and epidemiologist, his research investigates the nexus of trends in global environmental change and human health. He received his BA from Harvard College where he created his own curriculum integrating courses in ecology, medical anthropology and development studies. He then received two graduate degrees from UC Berkeley: an MPH in Epidemiology with a focus in Nutrition, and a PhD in Environmental Science, Policy and Management focusing his studies in wildlife ecology and ecosystem services.
Since 1999, Dr. Golden has been conducting environmental and public health research in Madagascar where he created a local non-profit (501c3) research organization called MAHERY (Madagascar Health and Environmental Research). In the local language, “mahery” means strength and this organization has been the sole research organization operating in Madagascar’s largest remaining tract of rainforest. This group supports 20 field staff and he has trained nearly 25 Malagasy university students in field research methods. For the last two years, he has brought small groups of Harvard undergraduates to Madagascar for the summer to get hands-on experience in planetary health research, a field dedicated to understanding the human health impacts of environmental change.
Dr. Golden is also the Associate Director of the Planetary Health Alliance, working to create a community of practice for those interested in the field across academia, NGOs and government institutes. Over the past several years, he has served as lead investigator on several research efforts: 1) the investigation of terrestrial wildlife declines in Madagascar on food security and human nutrition; 2) the investigation of climate-driven impacts of marine fishery collapses across the globe on food security and human nutrition; and 3) intervention analyses to determine solutions to wildlife harvest unsustainability and local health crises.
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The National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, funded through an award to the University of Maryland from the National Science Foundation, is a research center dedicated to accelerating data-driven scientific discovery at the interface of human and ecological systems. Visit us online at www.sesync.org and follow us on Twitter @SESYNC.