Aquatic foods play an essential role in any transformation towards a healthy, sustainable global food system. The ongoing Blue Food Assessment (BFA) investigates this role to better understand aquatic food systems, including fisheries and aquaculture. Aquaculture, in particular, is one of the fastest growing sectors of aquatic foods and has seen a three-fold increase in production over the past two decades.
‘A 20-year retrospective review of global aquaculture’, recently published in Nature, shares key developments in the aquaculture industry and the role of aquaculture in global food systems. Lead author and Stanford Earth Professor Roz Naylor recently presented the new review at the Big Fish Series, co-hosted by the University of Stirling Institute of Aquaculture and Stanford’s Center on Food Security and the Environment.
This retrospective compares the current state of the global aquaculture industry to a controversial review that Naylor and collaborators published in 2000 that sparked debate over the sustainability and impacts of aquaculture.
In her presentation, Naylor discussed “rapid innovation in aquaculture, but persistent challenges and uncertainties.” She was joined by co-host Dave Little (Institute of Aquaculture) and a diverse panel of experts including Ling Cao, Philippa Cohen, Fernando O. Mardones, Michèle Stark and Jose Villalon. Panelists expressed concerns ranging from aquafeed to environmental health and governance systems, highlighting the ongoing need for research about this growing industry. However, the panelists seemed hopeful for the future of aquaculture improvement. “The fact that the sector is expanding in an environmentally sound direction has really been a profound result,” said Naylor.
COS co-director Jim Leape ended the seminar with closing remarks highlighting the important connection between Naylor’s recent publication and her work as co-chair for the BFA. Leape hopes that the BFA will “provide the scientific foundation for bringing aquaculture fully into discussions about the future of food.”