This excerpt is from a piece published September 22 in The Conversation. The authors, Dave Little and Richard Newton, are both from the University of Stirling. Little is a co-author on the recently published Nutrition, Small-Scale Fisheries and Aquaculture, and Demand papers. Newton is a co-author on the recent Environmental Performance paper. Read the full article here.
Fish and other seafood is often overlooked by the environmentally conscious, but new research known as the Blue Food Assessment shows they can be part of meeting the twin challenges of climate change and food security. This year’s UN Summit of Food Systems is embracing “blue foods”, fish, shellfish and other food raised in water, to complement that of “green foods”, those that come from the land, plants and animals.
The five research papers from more than a hundred scientists highlight how aquatic foods could be used in the coming decades to address malnutrition, lower the environmental footprint of the food system, and provide livelihoods – echoing much other work that has been done in this area.
The growing, processing and distributing of food contribute a massive proportion of the greenhouse gas emissions that are the underlying cause of climate change, while huge numbers of people still suffer from malnutrition, obesity and sometimes both. Some seafood has the potential to provide people with high-value nutrition while producing relatively low emissions.
But research suggests there are significant variations in the climate impacts and micronutrient content of both farmed and wild fish, that is affected by species, size and system. Scientists are only just beginning to understand these and the potential trade-offs.