Stanford researchers help lead international initiative to highlight aquatic foods’ untapped potential

Hunger, malnutrition and obesity affect billions of people. A first-of-its-kind comprehensive review of the so-called blue foods sector reveals challenges and opportunities for creating a healthier, more sustainable, equitable and resilient global food system.

A blue wave is coming. Global demand for blue foods – fish, shellfish and algae – will likely double by 2050, according to a comprehensive review of the sector’s untapped potential for creating a healthier, more sustainable, equitable and resilient global food system by more than 100 global experts.

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Lindsay Filgas & Rob Jordan

The Blue Food Assessment is a set of scientific analyses that outline challenges and opportunities for fisheries and aquaculture.

In a series of scientific studies publishing this week, members of the Blue Food Assessment highlight the challenges of water-sourced foods, such as minimizing aquaculture’s environmental footprint, as well as the opportunities they present, such as feeding more people a greater range of nutrient-rich foods.

The Blue Food Assessment is a joint initiative led by Stanford University’s Center for Ocean Solutions and Center on Food Security and the Environment, along with the Stockholm Resilience Centre and EAT. It aims to support decision-makers, such as the delegates who will gather for the United Nations Food Systems Summit on Sept. 23, in evaluating trade-offs and implementing well-designed policies and investments.

“The global food system is failing billions of people,” said assessment co-chair Rosamond Naylor, the William Wrigley Professor of Earth System Science at Stanford. “Blue foods can play a critical role in improving nutrition, livelihoods and ecosystems.”

Read more about the Blue Food Assessment’s key findings, implications for food systems and recommendations, and watch the assessment’s global launch event.

More and different seafood in 2050

Humanity is likely to consume more fish and shellfish in the coming decades. Preparing for that future requires better data on the types of fish that people eat, sustainable expansion of aquaculture and improved understanding of the local context for the food on our plates.

Small fish in a big pond

Despite their massive economic and nutritional contributions, small-scale fisheries and aquaculture are often overlooked by policymakers. Drawing on profiles from around the world, researchers at Stanford and other institutions provide a blueprint for tailoring effective policy to this diverse sector.

Better health through blue foods

Researchers at Stanford, Harvard and other institutions around the world have developed a first-of-its-kind database highlighting so-called blue food’s nutrient richness, especially relative to the limited variation in land-based animal-source foods.

Media Contacts

Rob Jordan, Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment: (650) 721-1881; rjordan@stanford.edu