Food from the oceans

Working group members

Dag Lorents Aksnes
Chair
Professor
University of Bergen
Personal profile
Poul Holm
Chair
Professor
Trinity College Dublin
Personal profile
Maarten Bavinck
Professor
University of Amsterdam
Personal profile
Frank Biermann
Professor
Utrecht University
Personal profile
Roberto Danovaro
Professor
Polytechnic University of Marche and Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn
Personal profile
Patricia Harvey
Professor
University of Greenwich
Personal profile
Stephen Hynes
National University of Ireland Galway
Senior Lecturer
Personal profile
John Ingram
University of Oxford
Personal profile
Matthias Kaiser
Professor
University of Bergen
Personal profile
Sachi Kaushik
Ecoaqua Institute, University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Personal profile
Gesche Krause
Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research
Personal profile
Sylvie Lapègue
French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea
Personal profile
Alison MacDiarmid
Senior Regional Manager
National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research
Personal profile
Yngvar Olsen
Professor
Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Personal profile
Martin Quaas
Professor
Kiel University
Personal profile
Daniela Schmidt
Professor
University of Bristol
Personal profile
Patrick Sorgeloos
Professor
Ghent University
Personal profile
Michael St John
Professor
Technical University of Denmark
Personal profile

The only way to obtain significantly more food and biomass sustainably from the ocean is to harvest seafood that on average is from a lower trophic level than we currently harvest.

The Evidence Review Report warns that in our extraction of food from the oceans, ‘business as usual’ is not sustainable from social, economic and environmental viewpoints.

What the report says

The oceans are home to a large number of resources that are either not exploited or are marginally exploited currently and which could improve food security and the wellbeing of humanity. Increased food production from the ocean could release some of the pressure that has been put on agriculture, as well as supporting a range of livelihoods and activities associated with the fishing and mariculture industries.

Key options for how to obtain more food and biomass from the ocean: 

  • Tackling waste and discards. It is quite common that around one-quarter of the catch constitutes unwanted species or undersized fish, termed ‘bycatch’. Part of the bycatch is landed and used, but the unused fraction is thrown back into the ocean (often dead or dying) as discards. This practice is a wasted opportunity for biomass and food production as  the potential for utilisation of discard and other waste is significant.
  • Harvesting wild animal species at lower trophic levels, which today are either not exploited at all, or only marginally. Plankton, zooplankton and wild macroalgae  could be used as as a food source for mankind.
  • Developing aquaculture, and especially supporting the mariculture of macroalgae, marine herbivores, such as bivalves and marine carnivores and introducing multi-trophic aquaculture which integrates the production of species from different tropic levels.
  • Providing trustworthy consumer information on industrial fishing and mariculture.
  • Cultivating new approaches to social responsibility, which focus on open innovation, co-production of knowledge and social responsibility on multiple levels.
  • Introducing financial strategies that promote sustainable fishing.

Debate and impact

The impact of SAPEA’s work on Food from the Oceans is recorded here.

Policy impactAcademic impactMedia coverageEvents
  • High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy: cited in:The Ocean as a Solution to Climate Change
  • Food from the Oceans in Bergen
    The City of Bergen in Norway celebrated UNESCO Sustainable Gastronomy day on 18 June, with tastings of different types of food from the ocean, followed by talks on this topic and a panel discussion which explored the question ‘How can more food and biomass be obtained from the oceans in a way that does not deprive future generations of their benefits?’.
    Read more
    Cardiff International Food and Drink Festival
    Visitors to the Cardiff International Food & Drink Festival explored Food from the Oceans from 14 -16 July with talks, exhibitions and food tastings.
    Read more
    Food From the Oceans event in Hamburg
    SAPEA and the Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Hamburg organised this interdisciplinary panel debate held in the context of the German Year of Science 2016*17 – Seas and Oceans.
    Read more
    Norsk kontinentalsokkel fram mot 2050
    Bioeconomy Policy Day
    The event is an appropriate moment not only to announce the outcomes of the review on the Bioeconomy strategy presented in a Staff Working Document, but also and discuss how to move the Bioeconomy forward.
    Read more
    Social Innovation Conference
    Jointly organised by the European Commission, the Portuguese Government and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, the conference will take stock of social innovation today, review new trends in this vast domain, set the scene for lively and stimulating discussions, and promote networking among innovators, entrepreneurs, and other value creators driven by a social ideal.
    Read more
    DG MARE Workshop on Aquaculture
    The report was presented to stakeholders and the public.
    SCAR-Fish Meeting
    The report was presented to stakeholders and the public.
    European Parliament Hearing on Aquaculture
    Pearl Dykstra, Vice-Chair of the High Level Group of Advisors of the Scientific Advice Mechanism, presented the last scientific opinion produced by the Group at the European Parliment hearing on aquaculture.
    Read more
    Council of EU Working Party on Internal & External Fisheries Policy
    The report was presented to stakeholders and the public.
    Read more
    EU Aquaculture Farmed in the EU Regions
    The Conference was held on 2nd February 2018 in Brussels, at the European Committee of the Regions and was open to Member States representatives, Regional Authorities and other stakeholders.
    Read more
    Blue innovation: Oceans to feed the planet
    Following a scientific opinion by the EU’s Scientific Advice Mechanism and SAPEA report on “Food from the Oceans,” Science|Business brought together its members and experts to debate the steps needed across the policy world and showcase regional initiatives.
    Read more
    Noch mehr Nahrung aus dem Meer?
    Europe, the Ocean and Feeding the World
    European Parliament SEARICA Intergroup event.
    Read more
    Breakfast Briefing on SAPEA report Food from the Oceans
    The Breakfast Briefing highlighted some of the important discussion points from the SAPEA report that are of particular interest to Ireland.
    Read more
    Seafood Expo Global
    Seafood Expo Global/Seafood Processing Global is the world’s largest seafood trade fair.
    Read more
    2018 APSafe conference
    The theme of the conference is “Climate Change and Food: Challenges for the Future.” It will explore the multi-challenge of “food ethics”. SAPEA report waspresented in the keynote lecture and during the opening ceremony.
    Science in Times of Challenged Trust and Expertise
    The report was discussed during the Food from the Oceans session at the General Assembly of ALLEA.
    Read more
    Food from the Oceans event in Portugal
    The report was presented to the Portuguese public at an event organised by Academia das Ciências de Lisboa.
    5th International Marine Conservation Congress
    The congress brings together conservation professionals and students to develop new and powerful tools to further marine conservation science and policy. With over 700 marine conservation professionals and students in attendance, IMCC is the most important international event for anyone involved in marine conservation.
    Read more
    AQUA 2018
    The event highlighted the latest aquaculture research and innovation to underpin continued growth of the sector. AQUA 2018 comprised of a scientific conference, trade exhibition, industry forums, workshops, student events and receptions.
    Read more
    Society and the Sea conference
    The event engaged multiple stakeholders in an exploration of the value of the ocean and how that can be recognised, communicated and harnessed to contribute to the health, wealth and wellbeing of society.
    Read more
    ICES Annual Science Conference
    The conference gathered over 650 participants from 34 countries.
    Read more
    North Atlantic Seafood Forum Conference
    The report was presented to the participants of this world’s largestseafood business conference.
    Read more
    INGSA2018: Science Advice for a Changing World
    INGSA is a global forum for policy-makers, practitioners, academies, and academics to share experience, build capacity, and develop theoretical and practical approaches to the use of scientific evidence in informing policy at all levels of government.
    Read more
    Cardiff Science Festival
    The Cardiff Science Festival, which took place from 28th February – 3rd March 2019, aims to inspire and educate on how science, technology, engineering and maths affect our everyday lives. During the event, the key messages of the report were presented to the general public.
    Read more
    European Maritime Day
    The European Maritime Day is the annual EU meeting point on maritime affairs and blue growth. It targets maritime professionals, entrepreneurs and ocean leaders from businesses, governments, public institutions, NGOs and academia. Our Food from the Oceans report was exhibited as part of this conference.
    Read more
    EurOCEAN 2019
    EurOCEAN is a high-level science-policy conference co-organised by European Marine Board, the European Commission and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO.
    Read more

    Subscribe to our newsletter