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
- Buck, B. H., Troell, M. F., Krause, G., Angel, D. L., Grote, B., & Chopin, T. (2018). State of the Art and Challenges for Offshore Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA). Frontiers in Marine Science, 5(165).
- Filgueira, R., Strople, L. C., Strohmeier, T., Rastrick, S., & Strand, Ø. (2019). Mussels or tunicates: That is the question. Evaluating efficient and sustainable resource use by low-trophic species in aquaculture settings. Journal of Cleaner Production, 231, 132-143.
- van Hoof, L., Fabi, G., Johansen, V., Steenbergen, J., Irigoien, X., Smith, S., […] Kraus, G. (2019). Food from the ocean: towards a research agenda for sustainable use of our oceans’ natural resources. Marine Policy, 105, 44-51.
- Hynes, S., Skoland, K., Ravagnan, E., Gjerstad, B., & Krøvel, A. V. (2018). Public attitudes toward aquaculture: An Irish and Norwegian comparative study. Marine Policy, 96, 1-8.
- Mouritsen, O., Rhatigan, P. & Pérez-Lloréns, J. (2018). The rise of seaweed gastronomy: phycogastronomy. Botanica Marina, 62(3), pp. 195-209.
- Mouritsen, O. G., Rhatigan, P., & Pérez-Lloréns, J. L. (2018). World cuisine of seaweeds: science meets gastronomy. International Journal of Gastronomy and Food Science, 14, 55-65.
- Schupp, M. F., Bocci, M., Depellegrin, D., Kafas, A., Kyriazi, Z., Lukic, I., […] Buck, B. H. (2019). Toward a Common Understanding of Ocean Multi-Use. Frontiers in Marine Science, 6(165).
- Schattenblick: Hifters LNA geht in Libyen gegen Schlepperbanden vor (10 May 2017)
- Bergen Gastronomy: Food from the Oceans, Food Festival and Scientific Seminar (12 June 2017)
- Bergen Commune: Inviterer til bærekraftig sjømatdag (15 June 2017)
- Hordaland: Folkefest med mat frå havet (15 June 2017)
- Nordnes republikken: Ferske reker og foredrag (17 June 2017)
- TV2 Norway:News story on Bergen Food Festival and events (18 June 2017)
- The Union of the German Academies of Sciences and Humanities: Nahrungsquelle Meer – Entwicklungen, Gefährdungen, Prognosen (15 September 2017)
- Public Now: Commission Prepares To Move Its Bioeconomy Efforts Up A Gear (16 November 2017)
- Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences: Europees advies over voedsel uit zee (30 November 2017)
- JRC: Commission’s top scientific advisers publish opinion on food from the oceans (30 November 2017)
- Seafood intelligence: Commission’s top scientific advisers publish opinion on food from the oceans (30 November 2017)
- Agripress: Commission’s top scientific advisers publish opinion on food from the oceans (30 November 2017)
- Science Business: Huge untapped source of food and biomass in oceans, say EU science advisors (30 November 2017)
- Academia Europaea Cardiff Hub:Cardiff Hub oversees completion of the food from the oceans evidence review report for the European Commissoons (1 December 2017)
- University of Bristol: Prof Daniela Schmidt contributes to major ‘Food from the Oceans’ report (1 December 2017)
- Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn: SAPEA provides evidence for the European Commission on Food from the Oceans (1 December 2017)
- University of Hohenheim: Business as usual would not be sustainable (4 December 2017)
- ALLEA website: SAPEA provides evidence for the European Commission on Food from the Oceans (4 December 2017)
- Aquaculture magazine: Huge untapped source of food and biomass in oceans, say EU science advisors (5 December 2017)
- acatech: SAPEA legt für die Europäische Kommission wissenschaftliche Erkenntnisse zum Thema Nahrung aus den Ozeanen vor (5 December 2017)
- easac: New report from European science academies calls for urgent action on food and nutrition security: Europe will need to change its diet to address climate change and health (5 December 2017)
- Euromarine Network: SAM Scientifi Opinion on Food from the Oceans published (5 December 2017)
- myscience.org:Food from oceans can help satisfy global demand (7 December 2017)
- Cardiff Universit: Food from oceans can help satisfy global demand (7 December 2017)
- University of Bergen: Ny rapport gir svar om bærekraftig mat fra havet (8 December 2017)
- Royal Irish Academy: SAPEA (Science Advice for Policy by European Academies) examining the question of how the ocean can help satisfy the global demand for food. (8 December 2017)
- Horizon magazine: Algae and krill may be a tough sell for European consumers (8 December 2017)
- Undercurrent News: European report advocates eating more bivalves, algae (8 December 2017)
- Ara ciència : Les restriccions, aquestes desconegudes (11 December 2017)
- European Scientist: Can the ocean can help satisfy the global food demand? (12 December 2017)
- The Conversation: Putting algae and seaweed on the menu could help save our seafood (14 December 2017)
- Phys.org: Putting algae and seaweed on the menu could save our seafood (14 December 2017)
- The Sun: Barmy EU chiefs want people to swap traditional fish and chips for ‘more sustainable’ clams and seaweed (16 December 2017)
- The Daily Catch: Why We Need Seaweed and Algae on the Menu to Help Save Seafood (18 December 2017)
- Trinity College Dublin: New report on how the ocean can help satisfy global demand for food (19 December 2017)
- Agora Magazine:Commission’s top scientific advisers publish opinion on Food from the Oceans (20 December 2017)
- Open Learn: Can eating seaweed and algae keep the world fed? (22 December 2017)
- Bio a la una : Nori, spiruline, chlorelle : les algues, ces nouvelles alliées santé (24 December 2017)
- apuntelego: Bioeconomía azul para alimentar el futuro (28 December 2017)
- The Independent: Putting algae and seaweed on the menu could help save our seafood (3 January 2018)
- World@Web: One solution to global hunger could be at the bottom of the ocean (4 January 2018)
- Mediterranean Institute of Oceanography: Food from the Oceans Evidence Review Report for the European Commission (26 January 2018)
- Academy of Technical Sciences: First record for the EU Commission from SAPEA (29 January 2018)
- Science Business: Blue innovation: Oceans to feed the planet (1 February 2018)
- Cardiff University Biomedical & Life Sciences libraries: Systematic Review: Food From our Oceans (1 February 2018)
- INCOBRA: BLUE INNOVATION: OCEANS TO FEED THE PLANET – ROUND TABLE (6 February 2018)
- Latvian Academy of Sciences: Par Eiropas Akadēmiju Zinātnisko konsultāciju projekta (SAPEA) publikāciju (8 February 2018)
- Science Business: Blue Innovation: How to fill fishing nets without emptying the seas (8 March 2018)
- Pesceinrete: Food from the Oceans. Il cibo del futuro? Alghe, pesce coniglio e cetrioli di mare (19 March 2018)
- Financial Times Magazine: Superfood to superhero: how eating seaweed could help the planet (23 March 2018)
- Open Access Government: EU aquaculture: Supporting the farmers in the water (26 March 2018)
- ipac.acuiculturat: La Comisión Europea organiza en Seafood Bruselas 2018 “Food from the Oceans, a look into our future” (23 April 2018)
- NUI Galway: Whitaker Scientific Director presents briefing on SAPEA report Food from the Oceans at Royal Irish Academy (8 May 2018)
- The news market: Master’s Speech: Poul Holm: Global Food Demand Increases by 60% in 2050 and Perpetual Seafood as a Key Role (13 May 2018)
- European Marine Board:Commissioner Vella meets European ocean research leaders for third time (10 July 2018)