NEWS 2020-04-08

Blue food assessment initiated

Researchers have launched a new scientific assessment that will look at the role of seafood in the global food system, as the world population is estimated to reach ten billion by 2050. This research initiative, called The Blue Food Assessment, was kicked off during a meeting at the Stanford University Center for Ocean Solutions in February 2020.

Team members of the Blue Food Assessment at the kick-off meeting at Stanford University in February.

Feeding into UN global Food Summit
The assessment is realized through a collaboration between the Stockholm Resilience Centre and the Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions as core scientific partners, with Springer Nature and EAT Foundation as close collaborators for academic outreach and broader impact. Beijer Institute researchers Max Troell and Malin Jonell are part of the team, and it is co-chaired by Beatrice Crona, director for Beijer partner Global Economic Dynamics and the Biosphere program (GEDB). The assessment will progress over the next 18 months to feed directly into the UN Secretary General’s first-ever global Food Summit taking place in September 2021.

“Through the Blue Food Assessment, we propose to provide a deep and comprehensive scientific analysis of the possibilities and risks of a growing reliance on  ‘blue foods’,  meaning all farmed and fished seafood, from freshwater and marine environments. We have a unique opportunity to deliver impactful and actionable science to the diverse decision-makers shaping the future of food,” says workshop organizer and COS Early Career Fellow Michelle Tigchelaar.

Identifying and filling critical gaps
The researchers behind the Blue Food Assessment will prepare a series of eight papers, along with a synthesis report and a series of policy briefs, across several domains and themes: nutrition, environment, economics and justice, climate change, demand evolution, and smallholders.

The Beijer Institute and GEDB-reserachers are leading or being primarily involved in papers looking into the environmental, nutritional, and cost implications of blue-food diets, as well as capabilities for transforming the blue food system

The team believes there is a need to build a more just, healthier and sustainable food system. That includes getting a deeper understanding of how the extraordinary diversity of blue foods affect nutrition, environment, equity and the economy both locally and globally.

“We will need to understand the many interconnections between aquatic and terrestrial production and how recent and ongoing technology development within the blue food sectors shape the dynamics of the overall food system”, says Malin Jonell, and continues:

“Pathways for transformation have to also recognize the variety of decision-makers – fishers, growers, processors, traders, retailers, consumers, governments, and international organizations – whose choices will determine outcomes.”

With this in mind, the 2021 UN food summit can be the first opportunity to propel changes in the global food production system.