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How aquatic food could serve us | Axios

Graphic of a dining table floating over the ocean.
Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Fish, seaweed and other aquatic food from the world’s oceans and freshwater could help reduce malnutrition around the globe. A recent Axios article explores key findings and takeaways of the Blue Food Assessment (BFA), including the importance of policy dialogues happening tomorrow at the U.N. Food Systems Summit.

The piece highlights three BFA papers published last week. ‘Aquatic Foods to Nourish Nations,’ led by Chris Golden at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, presents a novel nutrient composition database of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins A and B12, calcium, iodine, zinc, calcium and other nutrients in 3,753 species of aquatic foods. ‘Environmental Performance of Blue Foods,’ led by American University’s Jessica Gephart, shares standardized estimates of the environmental pressures stemming from blue food production. ‘Blue Food Demand Across Geographic and Temporal Scales,’ co-authored by BFA co-lead Beatrice Crona, analyzes how and where blue food demand is changing over time. Together with publications about Climate Change and Small-Scale Fisheries and Aquaculture, the findings build a scientific foundation for decision-makers to evaluate tradeoffs and implement blue food solutions.

“People view food as agriculture and agriculture as land-based food systems. With aquatic foods, there are thousands of potential species with different nutrient profiles and environmental impacts.”

Chris Golden, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

BFA findings suggest that some of the most nutritious aquatic foods also have fewer environmental impacts. Given that global blue food demand is projected to roughly double by 2050, people’s willingness to eat small nutritious fish like sardines or bivalves with a low environmental impact will play a big role in whether blue foods are leveraged for nutritional and environmental benefits.

“These papers show the unmet potential the world’s waters have in meeting at least some of our nutritional needs.”

Lawrence Haddad, Executive Director of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition

Read the full Axios article

Learn more about recent Blue Food Assessment research findings