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For healthier and more sustainable diets, look to fisheries and aquaculture

Doubling of global demand for aquatic foods calls for a ‘blue food revolution’ to tackle climate change and malnutrition, new research argues. New landmark assessment finds fish, shellfish and algae offer untapped potential for global development if the right policies and investments are put in place.

Foto: Johan Holmdahl/Mostphotos
Photo: Johan Holmdahl/Mostphotos

An unprecedented review of the aquatic foods sector has uncovered how fisheries and aquaculture can play a greater role in delivering healthy diets and more sustainable, equitable and resilient food systems around the world.

Five peer-reviewed papers highlight the opportunities to leverage the vast diversity of aquatic, or “blue”, foods in the coming decades to address malnutrition, lower the environmental footprint of the food system, and provide livelihoods.

These five papers are the first in a series produced by the Blue Food Assessment (BFA), a group of more than 100 leading researchers led by Stockholm Resilience Centre at Stockholm University, Stanford University, and EAT.

“Blue foods are much more diverse than typically thought, and so too are the many communities of small-scale fishers who are often overlooked despite providing the majority of blue food people eat,” said Professor Beatrice Crona, co-chair of the BFA and Deputy Science Director at the Stockholm Resilience Centre.

The research projects that global demand for blue foods will roughly double by 2050, and will be met primarily through increased aquaculture production rather than by capture fisheries. Investing in innovation and improving fisheries management could increase consumption even more and have profound effects on malnutrition. The research found that blue food systems facing the highest risk from climate change are also typically located in those regions where people rely on them most and where they are least equipped to respond and adapt to climate hazards.

 

Read more about the research at Stockholm Resilience Centre

Food security for millions undermined by lack of policy support for small-scale fisheries and aquaculture
A new paper highlights the important role of small-scale fisheries and aquaculture in supporting livelihoods worldwide and tackling some of the world’s most pressing challenges.

Aquatic foods offer great untapped potential for providing more sustainable diets
First assessment of its kind produces environmental profiles for the full range of aquatic, or blue foods, to help guide more sustainable food production and diets.

Climate change creates ‘double jeopardy’ for fish-dependent countries
A new study highlights the importance of collective action to boost resilience across all aquatic food systems to stave off the worst effects of climate change.

Global demand for aquatic foods set to nearly double by 2050
Improvements to aquaculture production, lower prices, and changing cultural preferences expected to drive up demand for fish, seafood and seaweed, according to new research.

More affordable aquatic foods could prevent 166 million micronutrient deficiencies worldwide, finds new paper
For the first time, the nutritional benefits of thousands of marine and freshwater species have been profiled in a new study.

 

Blue Food Assessment global launch event

Join the Blue Food Assessment's co-chairs Rosamond Naylor and Beatrice Crona and thought leaders from the food systems transformation community as they premiere the findings of the Blue Food Assessment to a global audience. Throughout this 60-minute digital broadcast, we’ll hear from leading scientists, inspirational advocates, and changemakers about the enormous potential and inherent challenges of blue food and how thoughtful policies and practices can drive positive change across the sector.

Global Launch Event