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Christopher Costello (UCSB) and Elena Ojea (UVigo) at FAO

Food from the ocean has the potential to sustainable increase to meet future demand

Elena Ojea contributed to the first High Level Panel blue paper realeased this Tuesday

20/11/2019 -

The High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy has launched the first blue paper “Food from the Sea” from its series of commissioned scientific reports at the FAO’s International Sustainable Fisheries Symposium this week in Rome, where Elena Ojea is a contributing author. The report provides science-based projections of how far the ocean can help meet our increasing global demand for nutritious food, and meet the demands of the UN sustainable development goals of zero hunger (SDG2).

In a full house side event on Tuesday 19th 2019, two of the lead authors of the blue paper, Prof. Christopher Costello (US) and Stephan Gelcich (Chile) presented the novel results.  The report finds that capture fisheries could produce as much as 20% more catch in the future compared to today through better governance and management of fisheries (i.e. stopping overfishing, illegal fishing and fleet overcapacity through harmful subsidies). Moreover, the potential for mariculture expansion is very important, specially non-fed, and it could help the oceans to supply over six times more food than they do today (364 million metric tons of animal protein). This is a potential contribution limited by feed innovations and governance, environmental and socioeconomic constrains. The blue paper provides a tool kit for implementing the reforms needed to achieve such potential food supply.

We expect that this blue paper guides future decision making towards sustainable ocean food production, highlighting the role of sustainable mariculture and reformed capture fisheries in livelihood support and global food supply. Despite the risks and limitations that countries face today, it is encouraging that ocean health and human wealth go hand in hand. Advances in ocean production must be accompanied by protection from human threats to ocean health, such as pollution, critical habitat alteration, climate change effects and overfishing. A second blue paper on climate change impacts in the ocean economy will be presented  in two weeks during the COP25 finally held in Madrid.

Download the blue paper here.

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CATEGORIES: Collaborations, Dissemination, Elena Ojea, Outreach, Research, Results