Oceana CEO Issues Statement In Support of Blue Food Assessment
Press Release Date: September 16, 2021
Location: Washington DC
Today, the Blue Food Assessment (BFA), a joint international initiative, shared findings from their two years of research into the role of blue foods in creating healthy, sustainable, equitable food systems. Blue foods comprise those grown in or captured from freshwater and marine environments including aquatic animals, plants, and algae. The BFA’s research findings confirm the need for country leaders to take policy actions to restore and safeguard ocean abundance in response to the related crises of climate change, hunger, and malnutrition.
Oceana supports the BFA’s efforts to inform policymakers about the role blue foods play in global food systems. This research will help drive change in the policies and practices that will shape the future of food – especially as the world faces the impacts of climate change.
Oceana CEO Andrew Sharpless released the following statement in support of the initiative:
“The Blue Food Assessment proves once again that well-managed oceans can be rebuilt and feed millions more people than ever before, and do so forever, with support from national policies based in science. In short, by saving the oceans we can help feed the world.
Restoring ocean abundance and safeguarding vulnerable, fish-reliant communities is urgently needed to alleviate global hunger and malnutrition, as the impacts of a changing climate become more apparent. Right now, more than 2 billion people lack adequate access to food, and climate change puts another billion people at risk of food and economic insecurity. Global leaders must recognize that sustainably managed blue foods have the potential to be a climate-smart, nutrient-rich food source for the world’s growing population. They must act on this now.
A restored ocean could feed 1 billion people a healthy, wild-caught, seafood meal every day, forever. Small pelagic fish like sardines and anchovies, farmed seaweeds, and bivalves like clams and mussels are key sources of nutrition, have some of the lowest carbon footprints among animal proteins, and require virtually no freshwater or land to produce. For comparison, one hamburger has roughly the same carbon footprint as 9 pounds of wild sardines.
By enacting national science-based policies that stop overfishing, protect ocean habitat, and prioritize the rebuilding of depleted fisheries, we can make climate-smart seafood more readily available while protecting biodiversity and securing livelihoods. Oceana is doing this right now in countries that control about one-third of the world’s wild fish catch. 95% of the world’s wild fish catch is landed in Exclusive Economic Zones, ocean directly controlled by individual countries, and that is governed by national law. By taking action in their own jurisdictions and collaborating internationally, nations can restore ocean abundance and build resilience.
World leaders are preparing to gather at the United Nations Food Systems Summit later this month. We urge them to use the Blue Food Assessment to prioritize ocean health and blue foods to sustainably feed a hungry planet in a climate-smart way. Together, we can save the oceans and help feed the world.”
About The Blue Food Assessment
The Blue Food Assessment (BFA) is an international joint initiative that brings together over 100 scientists from more than 25 institutions, including Oceana Board member Rashid Sumaila and Oceana Science Advisors Eddie Allison, Jessica Gephart, Chris Golden, and Roz Naylor. The Stockholm Resilience Centre and Stanford University are lead science partners and EAT is the lead impact partner. This interdisciplinary team supports decision-makers in evaluating trade-offs and implementing solutions to build healthy, equitable and sustainable food systems.
Over the course of 2021, the BFA will publish nine papers in Springer-Nature journals that offer new scientific insights and address the many roles, challenges, and possibilities of blue foods with emphasis on nutrition, justice, climate change, small-scale producers, and capabilities for transforming food systems.
Oceana is the largest international advocacy organization dedicated solely to ocean conservation. Oceana is rebuilding abundant and biodiverse oceans by winning science-based policies in countries that control one-third of the world’s wild fish catch. With more than 225 victories that stop overfishing, habitat destruction, pollution, and the killing of threatened species like turtles and sharks, Oceana’s campaigns are delivering results. A restored ocean means that 1 billion people can enjoy a healthy seafood meal, every day, forever. Together, we can save the oceans and help feed the world. Visit www.oceana.org to learn more.