Irrigated agriculture and inland fisheries both make important contributions to food security, nutrition, livelihoods and wellbeing. Typically, in modern irrigation systems, these components operate independently. Some practices, commonly associated with water use and intensification of crop production can be in direct conflict with and have adverse effects on fisheries. Food security objectives may be compromised if fish are not considered in the design phases of irrigation systems. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development provides a framework that can serve as a backdrop to help integrate both sectors in policy discussions and optimise their contributions to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Inland fisheries systems do play an important role in supporting many SDG objectives, but these contributions can sometimes be at odds with irrigated agriculture. Using case studies of two globally important river catchments, namely the Lower Mekong and Murray-Darling basins, we highlight the conflicts and opportunities for improved outcomes between irrigated agriculture and inland fisheries. We explore SDG 2 (Zero Hunger) as a path to advance our irrigation systems as a means to benefit both agriculture and inland fisheries, preserving biodiversity and enhancing the economic, environmental and social benefits they both provide to people2.
Lynch, A. J., Baumgartner, L. J., Boys, C. A., Conallin, J., Cowx, I. G., Finlayson, C. M., … Duncan, P. (2019). Speaking the same language: can the sustainable development goals translate the needs of inland fisheries into irrigation decisions? Marine and Freshwater Research. CSIRO. https://doi.org/10.1071/MF19176