Contribution of Gleaning Fisheries to Food Security and Nutrition of Poor Coastal Communities in the Philippines
Gleaning for edible invertebrates on shallow reef flats is a chronic activity in the Philippines mainly for subsistence but also for supplemental family income. A case study carried out in five gleaning sites in the Visayas and Mindanao islands evaluated the contribution of reef gleaning to food security and nutrient adequacy of artisanal fishing households, among the poorest sectors in Philippine society. With a high proportion (38-75%) living in extreme poverty, dependence on gleaning as a source of energy and vital nutrients is very high. The typical diet of coastal households in the surveyed sites is mainly composed of rice (49%), fresh fish (10%) and gleaned invertebrates (14%). Individual members of coastal households consume an average of 930g of food daily, equivalent to energy (1891 kcal.day-1) and protein (62.7 g.day-1) intakes, exceeding national averages. Coastal communities have higher adequacy in protein (mean = 68%) than energy (mean= 43%), calcium (44%) and iron (29%) indicating diet of many households do not meet the daily recommended energy and nutrient intake (RENI). Significant contribution of gleaned seafood to protein intake of coastal families and highlight the need to formulate sound management policies to sustain the nutritional benefits from reef gleaning for marginal fishing communities.