Nature Seminar Series: Fishing for Nutrition: Healthy Oceans for People and Planet

Professor Christina Hicks


Our global food system is poised for transformation; with the goal increasingly to ensure diets are healthy and sustainable. Fish and other aquatic foods are afforded an increasingly prominent role in this new narrative, primarily for their comparably low greenhouse gas emissions and rich micronutrient content. While a refocus towards healthy and sustainable diets is needed, it is imperative that efforts do not create or exacerbate inequities. In this talk, I first explore the role of aquatic foods in this transformation, and establish how distal drivers of foreign fishing, international trade, and climate change undermine the participation of small-scale producers and local consumers. Next, and drawing on theories of Social Justice I establish how social structures including class, gender, and ethnicity, create barriers to participation and explain unequal distributions of benefits. Finally, I evaluate whether patterns of injustice are associated with a lack of political voice or recognition in food systems policy. In doing so, I identify promising examples of how policy can be used to support a more equitable distribution of food system benefits.


Professor Christina Hicks is an interdisciplinary social scientist and marine conservationist who examines the interactions between humans and marine environments. Based at Lancaster University, UK, she works on fisheries governance and conservation, fisheries nutrition, and food justice, with a focus on coastal East and West Africa. She is currently working in three core areas: 1) Examining the contributions fisheries make to human nutrition under social and environmental change; 2) Establishing how flows of finance drive fisheries overexploitation to identify policy responses; 3) Supporting just and sustainable food systems transitions. Christina is a Highly cited Researcher, her work has been published widely, including in Nature and Science, has featured in documentaries, including on the BBC world service, and has received grants and awards including from the European Research Council, Leverhulme Trust, and Royal Geographical Society

The Leverhulme Centre for Nature Recovery and Biodiversity Network are interested in promoting a wide variety of views and opinions on nature recovery from researchers and practitioners.

The views, opinions and positions expressed within this lecture are those of the author alone, they do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the Leverhulme Centre for Nature Recovery/Biodiversity Network, or its researchers.