In fission yeast, three distinct eukaryotic initiation factor 2α (eIF2α) kinases (Hri1, Hri2 and Gcn2), regulate protein synthesis in response to various environmental stresses. Thus, Gcn2 is activated early after exposure to hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and methyl methanesulfonate (MMS), whereas Hri2 is the primary activated eIF2α kinase in response to heat shock. The function of Hri1 is still not completely understood. It is also known, that the MAPK Sty1 negatively regulates Gcn2 and Hri2 activities under oxidative stress. In this study, we demonstrate that Hri1 is mainly activated, and its expression up-regulated, during transition from exponential growth to the stationary phase in response to nutritional limitation. Accordingly, both Hri1 and Gcn2, but not Hri2, are activated upon nitrogen source deprivation. In contrast, Hri2 is stimulated early during glucose starvation. We also found that Gcn2 is implicated in nitrogen starvation-induced growth arrest in the cell cycle G1 phase as well as in the non-selective protein degradation process caused upon this particular cellular stress. Moreover, Gcn2, but not Hri1 or Hri2, is essential for survival of cells growing in minimal medium, upon oxidative stress or glucose limitation. We further show that eIF2α phosphorylation at serine 52 by the eIF2α kinases is necessary for efficient cell cycle arrest in the G1 phase, for the consequent protein degradation and for sexual differentiation, under nitrogen starvation. Therefore, the eIF2α kinase signalling pathway modulates G1 phase cell cycle arrest, cell survival and mating under nutritional stress in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe.