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New study in Nature finds that sustainably managing the oceans can significantly increase global seafood production

Elena Ojea contributes to this new research article led by UCSB

19/08/2020 -

Global food demand is rising and serious questions remain about whether supply can increase sustainably. Land-based expansion is possible, but may exacerbate climate change and biodiversity loss and compromise the delivery of other ecosystem services. Food from the sea is poised to contribute significantly to global food and nutrition security in the future. In a new article published today in Nature, we see that with policy reforms and technological innovation, the production of food from the sea can increase substantially, potentially supplying from 12-25% of the increase in demand for meat products by 2050.

This research has been developed thanks to a Blue Paper commissioned by the High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy entitled ‘The Future of Food from the Sea’. It is led by Christopher Costello (emLab ,UCSB), Ling Cao (School of Oceanography, Shanghai JiaoTong University) and Stefan Gelcich (CAPES), working with a group of expert collaborators from around the world, with a breadth of knowledge that covers economics, biology, ecology, nutrition, fisheries and mariculture. This manuscript 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).

The investigation points out that food production from all three seafood sectors (wild fisheries, finfish mariculture and bivalve mariculture) can increase substantially, with the most pronounced gains coming from mariculture. Therefore, the sea can be a much larger contributor to sustainable food production. However, although the ocean could supply over six times more food than it does today (364 million metric tons of animal protein), the demand shift required to engage that level of supply is unlikely. There are also important technological challenges and feasible policy reforms to improve fisheries management. The study puts the oceans at the core of the solutions needed for meeting global meat demand in a sustainable way, and illuminates the ways forward to a more nutritious, less environmental damaging food source.

Check out the USCB Current article about this work,here

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CATEGORIES: Clock, Elena Ojea, Research