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I love almost all kinds of seafood: shrimp, lobster, crab, and even the occasional calamari. But there’s nothing like a classic fish dinner. For me, few things are more satisfying than a tasty plate of southern-fried catfish and hushpuppies served with sweet tea on a summer afternoon. Or, in the winter time, I’ll take a basket of Irish style fish and chips and a good cider. I’m hungry just thinking about it.

And I’m not the only one. Since at least 2009, more than half of the fish consumed in the world has been raised on farms. That’s quite a bit of demand.

That’s one reason why Heifer International projects that focus on aquaculture have such a successful track record. There are several reasons Heifer farmers are getting into some “fishy” business:

Fishermen in Bolivia
Fishermen in Bolivia pull the catch of the day.
  • Fish is a healthy, lean option. According to the Environmental Defense Fund, the meat is low in fat and high in protein and essential oils.
  • They are a reliable source of nutrition. Fish can be raised in saltwater or freshwater locations, and are a versatile food staple.
  • Farm fishing creates livelihoods and incomes. With the high demand for seafood, farmers can easily find a market near them to sell their product.
  • There are more benefits using fewer resources. Less land and water are needed to farm fish than other livestock.

Additionally, Heifer aquaculture programs are careful to observe sustainable methods of fish farming so that the environment can be preserved.

The best benefit, however, is the ripple effect that Passing on the Gift® makes on entire communities. Take, for instance, the stories of Heifer project participants like Nicholas Mwakabele, who taught his neighbors how to build ponds and earn profits by selling fish; or José Rendolfo Seballos, who credits his Heifer training and resources with being able to find success in his thriving fish trading business.

Truly, teaching a person to fish – in this case literally – is the best way to ensure they can eat and live free of hunger. Donate a gift of fish fingerlings to a Heifer family today and get the waters of change rolling!

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