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Mind the gap between ICES nations’ future seafood consumption and aquaculture production
  • Published Date:
  • Source:
    ICES Journal of Marine Science
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  • Description:
    As the human population grows and climate change threatens the stability of seafood sources, we face the key question of how we will meet increasing demand, and do so sustainably. Many of the 20 International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) member nations have been global leaders in the protection and management of wild fisheries, but to date, most of these nations have not developed robust aquaculture industries. Using existing data and documentation of aquaculture targets from government and industry, we compiled and analysed past trends in farmed and wild seafood production and consumption in ICES nations, as well as the potential and need to increase aquaculture production by 2050. We found that the majority of ICES nations lacks long-term strategies for aquaculture growth, with an increasing gap between future domestic production and consumption—resulting in a potential 7 million tonne domestic seafood deficit by 2050, which would be supplemented by imports from other countries (e.g. China). We also found recognition of climate change as a concern for aquaculture growth, but little on what that means for meeting production goals. Our findings highlight the need to prioritize aquaculture policy to set more ambitious domestic production goals and/or improve sustainable sourcing of seafood from other parts of the world, with explicit recognition and strategic planning for climate change affecting such decisions. In short, there is a need for greater concerted effort by ICES member nations to address aquaculture’s long-term future prospects.
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