The Potential of Small Fish to Alleviate Micronutrient Deficiencies. A Case Study of Ghana.
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- Master theses 
Abstract Micronutrient deficiency also referred to as “hidden hunger” is one of the prevalent forms of malnutrition with about 340 million children deficient in essential vitamins and minerals globally (FAO, 2020). Fish serve as an important source of protein and micronutrients such as calcium, iodine, iron, zinc, contributing substantially to food and nutrition security in Ghana. However, the latest findings in 2017 from the Ghana Micronutrient Survey indicate the prevalence of micronutrient deficiencies among 6-59 months children with iron and vitamin A deficiencies estimated at 21.5% and 20.8% respectively. This study aims to investigate the content of micronutrients available in 11 selected fish species caught on the Dr Fridtjof Nansen Survey in Ghana, 2017 and assesses the contribution of each species (per 100 grams) to daily average requirement/adequate nutrient intake based on from European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) for children between the ages of 1-3. The study also estimates the availability of the analysed species in Ghana based on annual fish catches between the period of 2000-2017. Brachydeuterus auritus and Cubiceps sp. had the highest mean values of vitamin A1 and iodine with values of 330μg/100g and 533.3μg/100g respectively contributing ≥ 50% to the daily average requirement of vitamin A1 and iodine for children between the ages of 1-3 The whole samples of Sardinella aurita and Engraulis encrasicolus analysed contained significantly higher content of selected vitamins with reported mean values ranging between vitamin A1 (60.2 μg/100g), vitamin A2 (49.5 μg/100g) and vitamin B12 (21.9 μg/100g). The annual landings of small pelagic fishes (marine) obtained from the Fisheries of Ghana for the period 2000-2017 showed a declining trend with an estimated 283,181 metric tonnes in 2000 and 188,478 metric tonnes in 2017. The annual average catches with per capita consumption (PCC) of the small pelagic fish in Ghana were estimated at 241308 metric tonnes between the years 2000-2009 and 208828 metric tonnes between 201-2017 with per capita consumption of 11.2kg and 7.6 kg respectively Sardines, anchovies, and mackerels were the most dominant species accounting for more than 50% of the total small pelagic fish (marine) landings in 2017. The study concludes that fish is a rich dietary source of vitamins A1, A2 and B12 and minerals (iron, zinc, and calcium) that could potentially tackle micronutrients deficiencies among children. However, the last decade (2010 -2017) has seen a reduction of average catch and average PCC values. This trend can be alarming and requires a prudent fisheries management 4 strategy to avert the potential risk of high and costly fish import to meet the growing population demand.