Feed the world from our oceans
Posted by norah Eddy | , United States
In the next 30 years, it’s anticipated there will be another almost three billion people living on the planet. Feeding this growing population will place ever greater pressure on already taxed marine and terrestrial food systems. A recent study by Gentry et al shows that only 0.015% of the ocean could produce enough seafood raised through marine aquaculture (mariculture) to match the current wild capture supply. This presents an opportunity to produce a sustainable food supply while restoring ecosystems, sequestering carbon, and avoiding the pitfalls we have experienced from the aggressive development of terrestrial food production.
Mariculture represents the best opportunity to efficiently feed a growing population while reducing the very real threat to our terrestrial resources and coastal environments. We have an opportunity to develop mariculture around the globe in a way that protects and restores coastal environments, bolsters local economy, and contributes to food security. Aquaculture has been the fastest growing food sector for decades, and growth in this sector will continue, with or without input from the science and conservation community.
There is a need to systematically identify models for expanding mariculture that can be successfully deployed and scaled in a way that aligns economic, food security, and conservation objectives around the world. With a full understanding of the tools for expanding mariculture sustainably, we can work with governments and communities to pursue policies that ensure the responsible proliferation mariculture in a meaningful and strategic way.