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Will fish be part of future healthy and sustainable diets?
The adoption of healthy and sustainable diets and
food systems is recognised as a means to address the
global challenge of malnutrition and poor-quality
diets, and unprecedented environmental damage
from food production and consumption.1 Sustainable
diets have also been recognised as a key strategy to
achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Reducing
consumption of animal-source foods is frequently
presented as key to improving the sustainability of
food systems.2 Fish and seafood can have a lower
environmental impact and in many cases are considered
more efficient than terrestrial animal production
(albeit with wide variation) depending on the type
of production or capture method,3 yet remain largely
absent, or insufficiently articulated in the sustainable
diets literature, rendering their future role in healthy
diets unclear.4 This absence of specific consideration of
fish and seafood extends to food security literature, in
which the role of fish remains under-recognised and
undervalued.5 Legitimate concerns exist regarding
the environmental sustainability of fisheries and
aquaculture systems; however, we argue that an
overemphasis on the so-called doomsday portrayal of
fish—which often dominates literature and the broader
media—masks the myriad of positive contributions
of the fisheries sector to nutrition and sustainability
and limits its scope in contributing to healthy and
sustainable food systems.
Fish have a wide range of nutritional benefits and
should be included as part of a healthy diet.6 Firstly,
fish is a concentrated source of highly bioavailable
nutrients including vitamins, minerals, essential fatty
acids, and high quality protein. The health benefits
of fish are well documented, including protection
against chronic disease as well as benefits for child
growth and development. Although food safety
issues such as contamination with methylmercury are
a concern for some susceptible groups, the benefits
of fish consumption generally outweigh the risks.7
Consumption of fish as part of a healthy diet offers a
unique prospect to address the global health issue of
malnutrition (undernutrition, micronutrient deficiency,
and non-communicable diseases associated with
overweight or obesity), which are simultaneously
experienced in many parts of the world.
A frequently cited concern regarding aquaculture
in environmental terms is the use of wild-caught
fish in feed. However, the proportion of fish used for
this purpose globally has been steadily declining, as
fishmeal and fish oil are increasingly replaced with
more sustainable sources such as fish by-products or
plant-based ingredients.5 Feed conversion ratios have
decreased by more than half in the past 25 years, and
development of novel aquaculture feed ingredients
such as microbial-derived nutrients, seaweed, and
insects, offers the potential to further reduce reliance
on wild-caught fish and terrestrial inputs in the future.8
Furthermore, efficient use of underutilised species,
by-catch, and fish-by-products throughout the value
chain (including by consumers) is growing and offers
substantial potential to improve sustainability of
the fisheries sector.9 Approaches such as integrated
multi-trophic aquaculture (involving polyculture of
several plant and animal species together) can improve
sustainability, although understanding which forms
will have the greatest ecological and economic benefits
remains a challenge.
Although the majority of well documented capture
fisheries are sustainably managed,10 overfishing and
ecosystem damage remain major concerns for others.
Wider recognition of the contribution of fish to the food
system, and the consequences of reduced availability of
fish for consumption, will help drive reforms in fishery
The contribution of fisheries to the broader social
and economic dimensions of sustainability are also
often overlooked. This sector underpins livelihoods for
at least 140 million people, nearly all of whom live in
developing countries operating within the small-scale
sector,10,11 and has a substantial role in poverty reduction
and improved food security of poor consumers.12 The
sector faces several social challenges including human
rights misconduct, poor working conditions, and social
inequalities, all of which are gaining increased policy
attention. We suggest that rather than a barrier, with
appropriate research and targeted interventions, these
challenges offer an entry point for maximising the
positive effects of the sector.
Fish does, and must continue to, play a key role
both in human health and the economic, social,
e160 Vol 3 April 2019
and environmental sustainability of food systems.
We identify several research and policy priorities
for progression of this agenda. Firstly, aquaculture
is a relatively new field and great scope remains
for research and development, including broader
consideration of species and breeding, improved
efficiencies in inputs including feed, biosecurity, and
the integration of aquaculture systems within broader
ecosystems. In particular, a better understanding of
how aquaculture and fisheries are integrated within
freshwater management is required, as well as the
environmental impacts of increasingly linked aquatic
and terrestrial food production through aquaculture
feed. Furthering the understanding of the importance
of integration requires recognition of the diversity
of capture fisheries and aquaculture systems, which
often reflect a continuum, rather than distinct
systems, with important inter-linkages and feedback
loops. Sustainable intensification in this context must
consider potential trade-offs at a broader system level,
not only within but also beyond food systems, to
the ecological, environmental, social, and economic
systems, and their interactions.13 Attention in policy
making and management implementation must also
shift from predominantly large fisheries to smaller,
food-critical fisheries, if the benefits of fisheries for
food security are to be realised. Finally, transdisciplinary
approaches to research and policy throughout fish
value chains are fundamental.
*Jessica R Bogard, Anna K Farmery, David C Little,
Elizabeth A Fulton, Mat Cook
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation,
Agriculture and Food, Brisbane, QLD 4067, Australia (JRB, MC);
University of Wollongong, Australian National Centre for Ocean
Resources and Security, Wollongong, NSW, Australia (AKF);
Institute of Aquaculture, University of Stirling, Stirling, FK9 4LA,
UK (DCL); Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research
Organisation, Oceans and Atmosphere, Hobart, TAS, Australia
(EAF); and Centre for Marine Socioecology, University of
Tasmania, Hobart, TAS, Australia (EAF)
We declare no competing interests.
Copyright © 2019 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an Open
Access article under the CC BY 4.0 license.
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... The Blue Food Assessment has established a baseline to build an understanding of the role of aquatic food consumption in global food systems [5][6][7][8]. Researchers have found that the inclusion of aquatic foods in the diet can provide more sustainable food options than terrestrial animal production [9][10][11][12] and has the potential to meet the characteristics of a sustainable diet [10,13,14]. Further, aquatic foods include the full range of aquatic animals, plants, and microorganisms that can be eaten and that originate in bodies of water. ...
... Price (60,281,41), knowledge (57,220,34), seafood (55,168,24), fish product (51,152,20), farmed fish (50,107,15), sustainability (48,106,14), eco (34,72,12), certification (42,90,11), origin (35,61,9), information (29,52,9), shrimp (30,44,7), sustainable farmed fish (22, 34, 5) ...
... Price (60,281,41), knowledge (57,220,34), seafood (55,168,24), fish product (51,152,20), farmed fish (50,107,15), sustainability (48,106,14), eco (34,72,12), certification (42,90,11), origin (35,61,9), information (29,52,9), shrimp (30,44,7), sustainable farmed fish (22, 34, 5) ...
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Asia accounts for over 70% of total global aquatic food consumption, but aquatic food consumption behaviours and attitudes among Asian consumers are poorly documented and understood. This paper synthesises literature on factors influencing aquatic food consumption behaviour in Asia and the potential to support transitions toward more sustainable food consumption patterns. We identified 113 studies for inclusion in a scoping review, and identified five clusters of publications: (1) product attributes, availability, and accessibility (24% of publications); (2) willingness to pay for aquatic foods (25%); (3) psychosocial factors (e.g., attitudes and subjective norms) (17%); (4) sociodemographic and lifestyle factors (21%); and (5) miscellaneous factors, including food safety and social status (13%). This study indicates that multiple interacting factors influence aquatic food consumption behaviours among Asian consumers, among which price is central. Knowledge of, and attitudes toward, the perceived quality and safety of aquatic foods were identified as important but were mediated by household characteristics. Sustainable production practices, country of origin, and ecolabels were found to be less influential on consumption behaviour. We found that improving consumers’ knowledge and attitudes about the quality and safety of aquatic foods might positively influence aquatic food consumption behaviour. Future multidisciplinary research is required to better understand interactions among the multiple factors that influence Asian consumers’ aquatic food consumption behaviour.
... Fish, as a low-energy, high-protein food, could also contribute to the intake of some essential nutrients, such as iodine, calcium, selenium, and vitamins D and A. Of particular interest are n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 LCPUFA) due to their anti-inflammatory and cardioprotective effects [2]. Consequently, regular fish consumption could reduce the burden of non-communicable diseases associated with overweight or obesity, as well as micronutrient deficiencies, mortality from cardiovascular disease, heart failure, and stroke [3,4]. A systematic review and meta-analysis confirmed that n-3 PUFA intake via fish consumption is associated with a lower risk of depression [5]. ...
... In addition, white fish has a mild taste, fine texture, and is easily digested, while fatty fish has a more "meaty" taste and odour [39]. Since Italians consume significantly more fish, especially fatty fish, compared with Croatians, it can be concluded that they clearly have a better nutritional status; they especially have a higher intake of n-3 PUFA, which may have an indirect positive effect on their health, as mentioned earlier [2][3][4]. The attitudes of Italian consumers towards the two types of fish have been studied [26,33]. ...
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Due to its numerous health benefits, fish consumption should be strongly encouraged. Fish consumption, however, is a complex phenomenon influenced by various factors. The aim of this research is to examine the influence of knowledge, product information, and satisfaction with product attributes on fish consumption in a nationally representative sample of people responsible for food purchasing within households in Croatia (n = 977) and Italy (n = 967). Fish consumption was well predicted (R2 = 15%) by the proposed structural model, using the partial least squares structural equation modelling method (PLS-SEM). The obtained results confirm that subjective knowledge (β = 0.277, p < 0.001) and satisfaction with product attributes (β = 0.197, p < 0.001) are predictors of fish consumption. Subjective knowledge was influenced by product information (β = 0.161, p < 0.001), as well as by satisfaction with product attributes (β = 0.282, p < 0.001), while objective knowledge had an influence on product information (β = 0.194, p < 0.001). Although satisfaction with product attributes was the strongest predictor of subjective knowledge in both countries (βCRO = 0.244, βIT = 0.398), it had a greater effect among Italians (p = 0.001), while the impact of product information (βCRO = 0.210, βIT = 0.086) was more pronounced among Croatians (p = 0.010). Since the mediating role of subjective knowledge in all models was confirmed, action focused on enhancing subjective knowledge should be taken to increase fish consumption.
... However, aquaculture needs to expand sustainably in order to increase global food security. Because species selection, feed inputs and the ability of production systems to adapt to climate change are crucial to both, environmental sustainability concerns and nutritional concerns are closely related Bogard et al., 2019;Fiorella et al., 2021. Aquaculture has the ability to contribute to meeting the demand while enhancing nutritional security around the world as the demand for fish and other aquatic species increases on a global scale. ...
... Thus, sustainability in the aquaculture sector is more needed nowadays. Concerns about nutrition and sustainability are significantly related; feed consumption, species choice, and the adaptability of production systems to climate change are crucial for both [126]. Environmental, economic, and social sustainability indicators may be used to evaluate the sustainability of aquaculture systems. ...
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Aquaculture is an important component of the human diet, providing high-quality aquatic food for global or local consumption. Egypt is one of the countries most vulnerable to the potential impacts of climate change (CC), especially in the aquaculture sector. CC is one of the biggest challenges of our time and has negatively affected different water bodies. CC leads to the combination of changes in water availability, a decrease in water quality, the movement of salt water upstream due to rising sea levels, and the salinization of groundwater supplies will threaten inland freshwater aquaculture. Similarly, higher temperatures resulting from CC lead to reduce dissolved oxygen levels, increased fish metabolic rates, increased risk of disease spread, increased fish mortality, and consequently decreased fish production. CC may also indirectly affect aquaculture activities; for example, large areas of lowland aquaculture ponds can be highly vulnerable to flooding from rising sea levels. Thus, the current overview will briefly discuss the state of the aquaculture sector in Egypt, the meaning of CC, its causes, and its effects on the different elements of the aquaculture sector, and finally, we will review the appropriate ways to mitigate the adverse effects of CC on fish farming, especially in Egypt.
... 3 However, few studies have focused on the health of farmed fish, particularly in the context of environmental impact. 4 The recent decrease in margining and the increase in fish farming highlight the need to pay more attention to the health of farmed fish. ...
Farmed fish are a promising source of high‐quality and sustainable protein. However, the production of farmed fish products that meet food safety standards is one of the major public health challenges worldwide. Therefore, food safety management in fish farms has recently garnered increasing attention. However, the detection of health parameters in fish is currently lacking. Haematology, an approach that is widely used in humans, provides a reliable assessment of health status in a non‐lethal and low‐cost way. Nevertheless, comprehensive, systemic and standard haematological parameters have not yet been established in farmed fish. Here, we provide a summary of the recent advancements in haematology health indicators in fish. Generally, haematological parameters are based on physiological and biochemical indices in blood. After a global review of haematology in fish, we analysed the research progress and current trends in haematology indicators in farmed fish, and explored their potential application for healthy farming. Furthermore, we discuss the internal and external environmental factors that also affect blood physiological and biochemical indices. Finally, we discuss the trends and future challenges for the application of haematology in fish. Collectively, the topics discussed in this review highlight the predictive and severely underrated value of haematological parameters in fish farming. The research progress and current trends in hematology indicators were systemically summarized in farmed fish, and their potential application for healthy farming were further explored in this review.
... This was expected as fish consumption is positively weighted in all of the scores considered in this study. Fish is a very good contributor to bioavailable nutrients and has well-known health benefits against chronic disease (Bogard et al., 2019). The high intake of indispensable nutrients associated with the higher level of protein for fish but also an overall dietary profile of higher quality explains the high PANDiet and SecDiet score. ...
Patterns of protein intake are strong characteristics of diets, and protein sources have been linked to the environmental and nutrition/health impacts of diets. However, few studies have worked on protein profiles, and most of them have focused on specific diets like vegetarian or vegan diets. Furthermore, the description of the environmental impact of diets has often been limited to greenhouse gas emissions (GHGe) and land use. This paper analyzes the alignment of environmental pressures and nutritional impacts in a diversity of representative protein profiles of a western population. Using data from a representative survey in France (INCA3, n = 1125), we identified protein profiles using hierarchical ascendant classification on protein intake (g) from main protein sources (refined grains, whole grains, dairy, eggs, ruminant meat, poultry, pork, processed meat, fish, fruits & vegetables, pulses). We assessed their diet quality using 6 dietary scores, including assessment of long-term risk for health, and associated 14 environmental pressure indicators using the Agribalyse database completed by the SHARP database for GHGe. Five protein profiles were identified according to the high contributions of ruminant meat, pork, poultry, fish, or, conversely, as low contribution from meat. The profile including the lowest protein from meat had the lowest impact on almost all environmental indicators and had the lowest long-term risk. Conversely, the profile with high protein from ruminant-based foods had the highest pressures on most environmental indicators, including GHGe. We found that the protein profile with low contribution from meat has great potential for human health and environment preservation. Shifting a large part of the population toward this profile could be an easy first step toward building a more sustainable diet.
... The public debate on future diets is currently strongly focused on the so called 'green shift'-shifting consumption from terrestrial animal-based to plant-based foods, with far less attention devoted to a possible 'blue shift' where aquatic-sourced foods play an increasingly important role. Instead, seafood is often either omitted entirely from discussions or treated simplistically as an undifferentiated whole in studies analysing the combined health and environmental impact of diets [13][14][15][16][17] . To increase seafood consumption sustainably, better understanding of the performance of this diverse food category is needed. ...
Full-text available
Seafood holds promise for helping meet nutritional needs at a low climate impact. Here, we assess the nutrient density and greenhouse gas emissions, weighted by production method, that result from fishing and farming of globally important species. The highest nutrient benefit at the lowest emissions is achieved by consuming wild-caught small pelagic and salmonid species, and farmed bivalves like mussels and oysters. Many but not all seafood species provide more nutrition at lower emissions than land animal proteins, especially red meat, but large differences exist, even within species groups and species, depending on production method. Which nutrients contribute to nutrient density differs between seafoods, as do the nutrient needs of population groups within and between countries or regions. Based on the patterns found in nutritional attributes and climate impact, we recommend refocusing and tailoring production and consumption patterns towards species and production methods with improved nutrition and climate performance, taking into account specific nutritional needs and emission reduction goals.
... Fish is nowadays considered among the healthiest food in the world with less impact on the natural environment (Bogard et al. 2019). Fish is an important source of nutrient, including high quality protein, unsaturated fatty acid (like omega-3 fatty acids), essential minerals (calcium, phosphorous, zinc, iron, selenium and iodine) and vitamins (A, D, B) (Elavarasan 2018;Leech 2019). ...
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The intensification of aquaculture in Cameroon requires efficient screening methods to control veterinary drug residues in fish. This is why the charm II radio receptor technique for the detection of antimicrobial residues in aquaculture fish initiated in Belgium was transferred to Cameroon according to Commission Decision 2002/657/EC. The validation parameters included the following tests: repeatability, reproducibility and robustness in addition to the mandatory characteristics, detection capability and specificity. Selected veterinary drug-free fish samples of tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus), catfish (Clarias gariepinus), carp (Cyprinus Carpio) and kanga (Heterotis niloticus) were spiked at different target concentrations with different antimicrobials (β-lactams, tetracycline, sulfonamides, macrolides and chloramphenicol). The detection capabilities (CCβ) were at MRPL (0.3 µg/kg for chloramphenicol), or below the regulatory limits in a range of 0.25-0.5 MRL with 0% false-negative results. β-lactams (penicillin G), tetracyclines (tetracycline, chloretetracycline and oxytetracycline) and macrolides (erythromycine A) were detected at half MRL (25, 50 and 100 µg/kg respectively), while sulfonamides (sulfamethazine) was detected at 25 µg/kg (0.25 MRL). The detection capabilities (CCβ) obtained were satisfactory as the cut-off factors (Fm) were less than the mean values of blank fish readings (B) (Fm < B). Furthermore, the method was applicable since the cut-off factor was less than the positivity threshold (Fm < T). The variability of the data under repeatability and reproducibility conditions was acceptable, with a relative standard deviation less than 15%. Results were unaffected by delaying the reading time from 0 h to 24 h after the addition of scintillation fluid, with a precision below 16%. Likewise, non-target drugs were not detected even at high concentrations (100 MRL) in a cross-reactivity study. From the overall results, the performance characteristics (detection capabilities, precision, robustness and specificity) were suitable and comparable to the initial validation results, indicating that the transfer to Cameroon laboratory was valid, the method was reliable and could be used in aquaculture fish quality monitoring programs in Cameroon.
... Moreover, fish plays an important role in correcting micronutrient deficient diets in developing countries, and thus not only can it reduce the prevalence of malnutrition, but it can also alter imbalanced high-calorie low-micronutrient diets in developed countries [2]. Regular fish consumption could also address today's burden of non-communicable diseases, such as obesity, cardiovascular disease mortality, heart failure, stroke, depression, and mental illnesses [3][4][5]. ...
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Today’s increased demand and consumption of fish would be impossible to ensure without aquaculture. Farmed fish, however, is often considered inferior among consumers in comparison to its wild counterparts. The aim of this study was to profile Croatian fishery consumers based on their intention to consume farmed fish. The participants in this study were a nationally representative sample of people responsible for food purchasing within the household (n = 977), whose responses were collected by the CAWI (computer-aided web interviewing) method. Four clusters were identified and described: farmed fish enthusiasts (21.1%), farmed fish supporters (17.4%), indifferents (44.7%), and farmed fish sceptics (16.8%). Results showed that consumer segments differed significantly with respect to age, income, employment status, living region, and physical activity. Furthermore, intention to consume farmed fish is related to fish consumption in general (those with higher intention are more frequent fish consumers). Interestingly, prejudices against farmed fish are present in all clusters; however, these prejudices are more pronounced among those with the weakest intention to consume farmed fish. Differences between clusters were observed also in respect to product information and preferences, knowledge about fish, places of usual purchase, and source of information about fishery products. The obtained results could be used in designing marketing strategies to promote farmed fish consumption.
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Una dieta saludable y sostenible es aquella que reduce el impacto sobre el medio ambiente, a su vez, promueve la salud. Desde la salud pública la obesidad, diabetes, hipertensión y enfermedades coronarias conocidas como enfermedades no transmisibles (ENT) relacionadas con la dieta, y la adopción de una dieta saludable y sostenible puede contribuir a su prevención. Se realizó un estudio que tuvo como objetivo describir el impacto ambiental de varios platos típicos de las diferentes regiones geográficas de Colombia considerando su receta original inicialmente y luego eliminando las carnes rojas y carnes procesadas. El estudio calculó el total de CO2-eq/kg del plato típico a partir de la base de datos de Food Impacts on the Environment for Linking to Diets que permite conocer el CO2-eq/kg de cada alimento. Los resultados mostraron que el plato típico que presentó el mayor impacto ambiental fue el friche de chivo con 21,719 CO2-eq/kg. Al eliminar las carnes rojas y las carnes procesadas de los platos típicos, se obtuvieron valores menores de 1 CO2-eq/kg, excepto la bandeja paisa que tuvo un valor final de 2,035 CO2-eq/kg. Se concluye que adoptar una dieta saludable y sostenible disminuiría la mortalidad por enfermedades no transmisibles.
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National authorities in many countries advise their populations to eat more seafood, for health and sometimes for environmental purposes, but give little guidance as to what type of seafood should be consumed. The large diversity in species and production methods results in variability both in the nutritional content and in the environmental performance of seafoods. More targeted dietary advice for sustainable seafood consumption requires a better understanding of the relative nutritional benefits against environmental costs of various types of seafood. This study analyzes the combined climate and nutritional performance of seafood commonly consumed in Sweden, originating all over the world. Nutrient density scores, assessed by seven alternative methods, are combined with species- technology- and origin-specific greenhouse gas emission data for 37 types of seafood. An integrated score indicates which seafood products provide the greatest nutritional value at the lowest climate costs and hence should be promoted from this perspective. Results show that seafoods consumed in Sweden differ widely in nutritional value as well as climate impact and that the two measures are not correlated across all species. Dietary changes towards increased consumption of more seafood choices where a correlation exists (e.g. pelagic species like sprat, herring and mackerel)would benefit both health and climate. Seafoods with a higher climate impact in relation to their nutritional value (e.g. shrimp, Pangasius and plaice)should, on the other hand, not be promoted in dietary advice. The effect of individual nutrients and implications of different nutrient density scores is evaluated. This research is a first step towards modelling the joint nutritional and climate benefits of seafood as a concrete baseline for policy-making, e.g. in dietary advice. It should be followed up by modelling other species, including environmental toxins in seafood in the nutrition score, and expanding to cover other environmental aspects.
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National dietary guidelines (DGs) consistently recommend consuming seafood for health benefits, however, the sustainability of increasing seafood consumption is often challenged. Seafood products vary in environmental performance as well as health benefits, yet there is no information integrating the health and ecological impacts of different seafood choices. The first step in optimising improved health and environmental outcomes is to examine more closely the types of seafood being consumed at population and individual levels, to develop the means to increase the intake of seafood that is optimal for human health and the environment. The purpose of this analysis was to better understand the specific types and amounts of seafood consumed by the Australian population, and by socioeconomic subgroups within the population, to determine the relative nutritional content and sustainability of seafood consumed by these groups. Secondary analysis of the Australian Health Survey (AHS) (2011–2013), which reached 32,000 people (25,000 households) was undertaken. The majority of respondents (83%) did not consume any seafood on the day of the survey. Results indicated the proportion of seafood consumers was lowest among adults who were unemployed, had the least education and were the most socio-economically disadvantaged. Crustaceans and farmed fish with low omega 3-content, such as basa and tilapia, were identified as the least nutritious and least sustainable seafood categories. These two categories constituted a substantial amount of total seafood intake for the lowest socio-economic consumers, and over 50% for unemployed consumers. In contrast, consumers in the highest socio-demographic group consumed mainly high trophic level fish (moderate nutrition and sustainability) and farmed fish with high omega-3 content (high nutrition, moderate sustainability). Fewer than 1% of adults or children reported eating seafood identified as both more nutritious and less resource intensive, such as small pelagics or molluscs. Opportunities exist to increase seafood intakes to improve health outcomes by varying current seafood consumption patterns to maximise nutritional outcomes and minimise environmental impacts. Initiatives to promote the health and environmental benefits of seafood should be promoted at the population level, with targeted interventions for specific groups, and should encourage consumption of highly nutritious low resource intensive types of seafood.
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Food production is responsible for a quarter of anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions globally. Marine fisheries are typically excluded from global assessments of GHGs or are generalized based on a limited number of case studies. Here we quantify fuel inputs and GHG emissions for the global fishing fleet from 1990-2011 and compare emissions from fisheries to those from agriculture and livestock production. We estimate that fisheries consumed 40 billion litres of fuel in 2011 and generated a total of 179 million tonnes of CO2-equivalent GHGs (4% of global food production). Emissions from the global fishing industry grew by 28% between 1990 and 2011, with little coinciding increase in production (average emissions per tonne landed grew by 21%). Growth in emissions was driven primarily by increased harvests from fuel-intensive crustacean fisheries. The environmental benefit of low-carbon fisheries could be further realized if a greater proportion of landings were directed to human consumption rather than industrial uses.
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In recent years, food waste has received growing interest from local, national and European policymakers, international organisations, NGOs as well as academics from various disciplinary fields. Increasing concerns about food security and environmental impacts, such as resource depletion and greenhouse gas emissions attributed to food waste, have intensified attention to the topic. While food waste occurs in all stages of the food supply chain, private households have been identified as key actors in food waste generation. However, the evidence on why food waste occurs remains scattered. This paper maps the still small but expanding academic territory of consumer food waste by systematically reviewing empirical studies on food waste practices as well as distilling factors that foster and impede the generation of food waste on the household level. Moreover, we briefly discuss the contributions of different social ontologies, more particularly psychology-related approaches and social practice theory. The analysis reveals food waste as a complex and multi-faceted issue that cannot be attributed to single variables; this also calls for a stronger integration of different disciplinary perspectives. Mapping the determinants of waste generation deepens the understanding of household practices and helps design food waste prevention strategies. Finally, we link the identified factors with a set of policy, business, and retailer options.
Managing fisheries to meet social, economic and ecological objectives is a fundamental problem encountered in fisheries management worldwide. In Australia, fisheries management involves a complex set of national and subnational policy arrangements, including those designed to deliver against ecologically sustainable development (ESD) objectives. The complex policy framework makes ensuring policy coherence and avoiding unintended consequences difficult, particularly where potential trade-offs are not made explicit. Coherence, or potential policy weakness, of Australian fisheries management in relation to ESD objectives was examined in a subset of Australian wild capture fisheries, at national and jurisdictional scales. Coherent policy frameworks with ESD objectives were found to be more likely at the legislative-level across jurisdictions (horizontal coherence), than other levels of implementation. Many fisheries had problems demonstrating coherence between legislation and management plans due to lack of inclusion of ESD policy themes at management and operational levels. Case studies revealed substantial variation in the likelihood for horizontal and vertical coherence between fisheries policy frameworks managing the same species. The lack of explicit ESD objectives observed in many Australian fisheries suggests a high likelihood of incoherence in fisheries management, or alternatively that managers may be informally pursuing higher levels of policy coordination and coherence than can be detected. Lack of detectability of coherence is problematic for demonstrating accountability and transparency in decision-making and public policy. Furthermore, use of discretion by managers when developing management plans, in order to overcome policy weakness, may lead to drifts in individual management direction within a jurisdiction.
Executive summary Malnutrition in all its forms, including obesity, undernutrition, and other dietary risks, is the leading cause of poor health globally. In the near future, the health effects of climate change will considerably compound these health challenges. Climate change can be considered a pandemic because of its sweeping effects on the health of humans and the natural systems we depend on (ie, planetary health). These three pandemics—obesity, undernutrition, and climate change—represent The Global Syndemic that affects most people in every country and region worldwide. They constitute a syndemic, or synergy of epidemics, because they co-occur in time and place, interact with each other to produce complex sequelae, and share common underlying societal drivers. This Commission recommends comprehensive actions to address obesity within the context of The Global Syndemic, which represents the paramount health challenge for humans, the environment, and our planet in the 21st century. The Global Syndemic Although the Commission's mandate was to address obesity, a deliberative process led to reframing of the problem and expansion of the mandate to offer recommendations to collectively address the triple-burden challenges of The Global Syndemic. We reframed the problem of obesity as having four parts. First, the prevalence of obesity is increasing in every region of the world. No country has successfully reversed its epidemic because the systemic and institutional drivers of obesity remain largely unabated. Second, many evidence-based policy recommendations to halt and reverse obesity rates have been endorsed by Member States at successive World Health Assembly meetings over nearly three decades, but have not yet been translated into meaningful and measurable change. Such patchy progress is due to what the Commission calls policy inertia, a collective term for the combined effects of inadequate political leadership and governance to enact policies to respond to The Global Syndemic, strong opposition to those policies by powerful commercial interests, and a lack of demand for policy action by the public. Third, similar to the 2015 Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the enormous health and economic burdens caused by obesity are not seen as urgent enough to generate the public demand or political will to implement the recommendations of expert bodies for effective action. Finally, obesity has historically been considered in isolation from other major global challenges. Linking obesity with undernutrition and climate change into a single Global Syndemic framework focuses attention on the scale and urgency of addressing these combined challenges and emphasises the need for common solutions. Syndemic drivers The Commission applied a systems perspective to understand and address the underlying drivers of The Global Syndemic within the context of achieving the broad global outcomes of human health and wellbeing, ecological health and wellbeing, social equity, and economic prosperity. The major systems driving The Global Syndemic are food and agriculture, transportation, urban design, and land use. An analysis of the dynamics of these systems sheds light on the answers to some fundamental questions. Why do these systems operate the way they do? Why do they need to change? Why are they so hard to change? What leverage points (or levers) are required to overcome policy inertia and address The Global Syndemic? The Commission identified five sets of feedback loops as the dominant dynamics underlying the answers to these questions. They include: (1) governance feedback loops that determine how political power translates into the policies and economic incentives and disincentives for companies to operate within; (2) business feedback loops that determine the dynamics for creating profitable goods and services, including the externalities associated with damage to human health, the environment, and the planet; (3) supply and demand feedback loops showing the relationships that determine current consumption practices; (4) ecological feedback loops that show the unsustainable environmental damage that the food and transportation systems impose on natural ecosystems; and (5) human health feedback loops that show the positive and negative effects that these systems have on human health. These interactions need to be elucidated and methods for reorienting these feedback systems prioritised to mitigate The Global Syndemic. Double-duty or triple-duty actions The common drivers of obesity, undernutrition, and climate change indicate that many systems-level interventions could serve as double-duty or triple-duty actions to change the trajectory of all three pandemics simultaneously. Although these actions could produce win-win, or even win-win-win, results, they are difficult to achieve. A seemingly simple example shows how challenging these actions can be. National dietary guidelines serve as a basis for the development of food and nutrition policies and public education to reduce obesity and undernutrition and could be extended to include sustainability by moving populations towards consuming largely plant-based diets. However, many countries' efforts to include environmental sustainability principles within their dietary guidelines failed due to pressure from strong food industry lobbies, especially the beef, dairy, sugar, and ultra-processed food and beverage industry sectors. Only a few countries (ie, Sweden, Germany, Qatar, and Brazil) have developed dietary guidelines that promote environmentally sustainable diets and eating patterns that ensure food security, improve diet quality, human health and wellbeing, social equity, and respond to climate change challenges. The engagement of people, communities, and diverse groups is crucial for achieving these changes. Personal behaviours are heavily influenced by environments that are obesogenic, food insecure, and promote greenhouse-gas emissions. However, people can act as agents of change in their roles as elected officials, employers, parents, customers, and citizens and influence the societal norms and institutional policies of worksites, schools, food retailers, and communities to address The Global Syndemic. Across systems and institutions, people are decision makers who can vote for, advocate for, and communicate their preferences with other decision-makers about the policies and actions needed to address The Global Syndemic. Within the natural ecosystems, people travel, recreate, build, and work in ways that can preserve or restore the environment. Collective actions can generate the momentum for change. The Commission believes that the collective influence of individuals, civil society organisations, and the public can stimulate the reorientation of human systems to promote health, equity, economic prosperity, and sustainability. Changing trends in obesity, undernutrition, and climate change Historically, the most widespread form of malnutrition has been undernutrition, including wasting, stunting, and micronutrient deficiencies. The Global Hunger Index (1992–2017) showed substantial declines in under-5 child mortality in all regions of the world but less substantial declines in the prevalence of wasting and stunting among children. However, the rates of decline in undernutrition for children and adults are still too slow to meet the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets by 2030. In the past 40 years, the obesity pandemic has shifted the patterns of malnutrition. Starting in the early 1980s, rapid increases in the prevalence of overweight and obesity began in high-income countries. In 2015, obesity was estimated to affect 2 billion people worldwide. Obesity and its determinants are risk factors for three of the four leading causes of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) worldwide, including cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers. Extensive research on the developmental origins of health and disease has shown that fetal and infant undernutrition are risk factors for obesity and its adverse consequences throughout the life course. Low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs) carry the greatest burdens of malnutrition. In LMICs, the prevalence of overweight in children less than 5 years of age is rising on the background of an already high prevalence of stunting (28%), wasting (8·8%), and underweight (17·4%). The prevalence of obesity among stunted children is 3% and is higher among children in middle-income countries than in lower-income countries. The work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), three previous Lancet Commissions related to climate change and planetary health (2009–15), and the current Lancet Countdown, which is tracking progress on health and climate change from 2017 to 2030, have provided extensive and compelling projections on the major human health effects related to climate change. Chief among them are increasing food insecurity and undernutrition among vulnerable populations in many LMICs due to crop failures, reduced food production, extreme weather events that produce droughts and flooding, increased food-borne and other infectious diseases, and civil unrest. Severe food insecurity and hunger are associated with lower obesity prevalence, but mild to moderate food insecurity is paradoxically associated with higher obesity prevalence among vulnerable populations. Wealthy countries already have higher burdens of obesity and larger carbon footprints compared with LMICs. Countries transitioning from lower to higher incomes experience rapid urbanisation and shifts towards motorised transportation with consequent lower physical activity, higher prevalence of obesity, and higher greenhouse-gas emissions. Changes in the dietary patterns of populations include increasing consumption of ultra-processed food and beverage products and beef and dairy products, whose production is associated with high greenhouse-gas emissions. Agricultural production is a leading source of greenhouse-gas emissions. The economic burden of The Global Syndemic The economic burden of The Global Syndemic is substantial and will have the greatest effect on the poorest of the 8·5 billion people who will inhabit the earth by 2030. The current costs of obesity are estimated at about $2 trillion annually from direct health-care costs and lost economic productivity. These costs represent 2·8% of the world's gross domestic product (GDP) and are roughly the equivalent of the costs of smoking or armed violence and war. Economic losses attributable to undernutrition are equivalent to 11% of the GDP in Africa and Asia, or approximately $3·5 trillion annually. The World Bank estimates that an investment of $70 billion over 10 years is needed to achieve SDG targets related to undernutrition, and that achieving them would create an estimated $850 billion in economic return. The economic effects of climate change include, among others, the costs of environmental disasters (eg, drought and wildfires), changes in habitat (eg, biosecurity and sea-level rises), health effects (eg, hunger and diarrhoeal infections), industry stress in sectors such as agriculture and fisheries, and the costs of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. Continued inaction towards the global mitigation of climate change is predicted to cost 5–10% of global GDP, whereas just 1% of the world's GDP could arrest the increase in climate change. Actions to address The Global Syndemic Many authoritative policy documents have proposed specific, evidence-informed policies to address each of the components of The Global Syndemic. Therefore, the Commission decided to focus on the common, enabling actions that would support the implementation of these policies across The Global Syndemic. A set of principles guided the Commission's recommendations to enable the implementation of existing recommended policies: be systemic in nature, address the underlying causes of The Global Syndemic and its policy inertia, forge synergies to promote health and equity, and create benefits through double-duty or triple-duty actions. The Commission identified multiple levers to strengthen governance at the global, regional, national, and local levels. The Commission proposed the use of international human rights law and to apply the concept of a right to wellbeing, which encompasses the rights of children and the rights of all people to health, adequate food, culture, and healthy environments. Global intergovernmental organisations, such as the World Trade Organization, the World Economic Forum, the World Bank, and large philanthropic foundations and regional platforms, such as the European Union, Association of Southeastern Nations, and the Pacific Forum, should play much stronger roles to support national policies that address The Global Syndemic. Many states and municipalities are leading efforts to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by incentivising less motorised travel and improving urban food systems. Civil society organisations can create a greater demand for national policy actions with increases in capacity and funding. Therefore, in addition to the World Bank's call for $70 billion for undernutrition and the Green Climate Fund of $100 billion for LMICs to address climate change, the Commission calls for $1 billion to support the efforts of civil society organisations to advocate for policy initiatives that mitigate The Global Syndemic. A principal source of policy inertia related to addressing obesity and climate change is the power of vested interests by commercial actors whose engagement in policy often constitutes a conflict of interest that is at odds with the public good and planetary health. Countering this power to assure unbiased decision making requires strong processes to manage conflicts of interest. On the business side, new sustainable models are needed to shift outcomes from a profit-only model to a socially and environmentally viable profit model that incorporates the health of people and the environment. The fossil fuel and food industries that are responsible for driving The Global Syndemic receive more than $5 trillion in annual subsidies from governments. The Commission recommends that governments redirect these subsidies into more sustainable energy, agricultural, and food system practices. A Framework Convention on Food Systems would provide the global legal structure and direction for countries to act on improving their food systems so that they become engines for better health, environmental sustainability, greater equity, and ongoing prosperity. Stronger accountability systems are needed to ensure that governments and private-sector actors respond adequately to The Global Syndemic. Upstream monitoring is needed to measure implementation of policies, examine the commercial, political, economic and sociocultural determinants of obesity, evaluate the impact of policies and actions, and establish mechanisms to hold governments and powerful private-sector actors to account for their actions. Similarly, platforms for stakeholders to interact and secure funding, such as that provided by the EAT Forum for global food system transformation, are needed to allow collaborations of scientists, policy makers, and practitioners to co-create policy-relevant empirical, and modelling studies of The Global Syndemic and the effects of double-duty and triple-duty actions. Bringing indigenous and traditional knowledge to this effort will also be important because this knowledge is often based on principles of environmental stewardship, collective responsibilities, and the interconnectedness of people with their environments. The challenges facing action on obesity, undernutrition, and climate change are closely aligned with each other. Bringing them together under the umbrella concept of The Global Syndemic creates the potential to strengthen the action and accountabilities for all three challenges. Our health, the health of our children and future generations, and the health of the planet will depend on the implementation of comprehensive and systems-oriented responses to The Global Syndemic.
Discarding is a worldwide problem in small-scale and industrial fisheries alike. A significant proportion of discarded fish are edible, and if high post-release mortality occurs, the practice may seem wasteful in the context of food security. There are different reasons for discarding which can be related to demand-side issues (e.g. market preferences), supply-side issues (e.g. on-board storage capacity), and management regulations (e.g. size limits). We carried out analyses to determine why discarding was occurring in a trawl fishery operating in southern Australia’s Great Australian Bight. Currently up to 56% of the fishery catch may be discarded – of which a considerable portion are edible species. The economic viability of the fishery was also considered by revenue from both target species and bycatch species based on a typical vessel. Our research found there are no supply-side barriers and that discarding in this fishery is driven by demand-side barriers. Without addressing demand-side issues for discards, our economic analysis shows that this fishery may be economically challenged and in the broader context, this issue may compromise the long-term supply of fresh Australian fish. Much of the focus to deal with fisheries discards has been directed at the catch sector through development of technical modifications of the fishing gear. However, to help address the discard issue it is important that all supply chain participants, including consumers, understand and contribute to solutions. Our results suggest that if more emphasis was placed on the market and consumer end of the seafood supply chain, the discard problem could be better addressed. We suggest a range of initiatives from government, industry, NGOs and seafood consumers. Technical and industry-led approaches such as sustainability through programs and certification requiring fisheries to meet standards is only part of the story. Consumer awareness regarding their role in creating sustainable fisheries and sustaining locally important fisheries can be enhanced by selecting a wider choice of seafood for consumption.
We reviewed 148 assessments of animal source food (ASF) production for livestock, aquaculture, and capture fisheries that measured four metrics of environmental impact (energy use, greenhouse‐gas emissions, release of nutrients, and acidifying compounds) and standardized these per unit of protein production. We also examined additional literature on freshwater demand, pesticide use, and antibiotic use. There are up to 100‐fold differences in impacts between specific products and, in some cases, for the same product, depending on the production method being used. The lowest impact production methods were small pelagic fisheries and mollusk aquaculture, whereas the highest impact production methods were beef production and catfish aquaculture. Many production methods have not been evaluated, limiting our analysis to the range of studies that have been published. Regulatory restrictions on ASF production methods, as well as consumer guidance, should consider the relative environmental impact of these systems, since, currently, there appears to be little relationship between regulatory restrictions and impact in most developed countries.