SASKATOON – The world will consume twice as much seafood by 2050, according to a new study.
But despite this increased demand for aquatic animals such as fish, mollusks or crabs (all known as blue foods), a stronger shift to sustainable fishing could help fight malnutrition and reduce the environmental footprint of the land. humanity as a whole.
“Few, if any, countries are developing their blue food sector to deliver ecological, economic and health benefits to their full potential,” said Professor Rosamond Naylor, founding director of the University’s Center on Food Security and the Environment, recently. from Stanford. Press release.
As part of a series of new search Involving its center, the Blue Food Assessment (BFA) last month published five new peer-reviewed papers projecting that more sustainable fishing and moving away from traditional capture fisheries could lead to improving people’s livelihoods. and have a “deep” effect on nutrient deficiencies, especially among low-income populations.
Blue food species, such as trout, carp, oysters and mussels for example, are richer in important nutrients than other food sources like chicken.
“This assessment aims to provide the scientific basis for decision makers to assess trade-offs and implement solutions that will make blue foods an essential part of an improved food system from local to global scale,” said Naylor , co-chair of the BFA, a joint global initiative of more than 100 scientists from 25 institutions, which also includes the Stockholm Resilience Center at Stockholm University and the Center for Ocean Solutions.
Sustainable fishing could also be a boost to help tackle climate change.
“On average, the main species produced in aquaculture, such as tilapia, salmon, catfish and carp, have an environmental footprint comparable to that of chicken, the low-impact terrestrial meat,” said the BFA.
But for people to see the benefits, green policies and investments need to be put in place now and strengthened in the years to come.
“Blue food systems facing the greatest risk of climate change are also typically located in regions where people depend on them the most and where they are least equipped to respond and adapt to climate risks,” said the BFA.
“We are nine fishing seasons away from the deadline to meet the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, so the urgency is high,” said Professor Jim Leape, co-director of the Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions, referring to the set of goals established by the United Nations General Assembly in 2016 as a means of creating a sustainable future for all.
“This research can help policymakers, businesses, financiers, fishermen and consumers capitalize on the immense potential of blue foods to help achieve these goals.”
PROPER LABELING, SUSTAINABLE FISHING ESSENTIAL: NON-PROFIT
But advocates say part of what needs to happen today is to ensure seafood is caught with minimal effect on natural stocks and the ecosystem.
Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) – one of the world’s largest non-profit fisheries certification programs – said recent research from BFA is something that should inspire fishing companies, consumers and governments to take further action.
“The pressures are going to increase in the oceans… so we really need to do what we can to protect our fish populations and only our oceans,” Kurtis Hayne, program director at MSC Canada, told CTV News Channel on Saturday.
His group encourages people to buy seafood bearing the MSC’s Blue Fish logo, as it means the nonprofit has verified that the food has been caught using methods that do not deplete the supply. natural; has not been mislabeled; and that fishing companies have not caused serious damage to other marine species, including dolphins, turtles or corals.
“It’s a really simple act that anyone can do to protect our oceans, to truly benefit our oceans and to ensure that fish stocks are preserved for future generations,” said Hayne.
Although it should be noted that MSC has faced criticisms and questions ocean experts on the label, however, with some organizations recently express concern the MSC certification process does not properly take into account bycatch – animals such as sharks and cetaceans that were not intended to be collected in fishing nets.
Meanwhile, when it comes to government oversight of sustainable fishing practices in Canada, conservation groups have in the past criticized that although the United States and the European Union have traceability systems for their products seafood, Canada does not require seafood to include information proving its origin, legality or sustainability status.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said that although fish are considered a risky food group because of the value of certain species of fish, its own March study found that 92% of all fish were “Satisfactorily labeled with appropriate common names. “