Sustainable optimization of global aquatic omega-3 supply chain could sub­stantially narrow the nutrient gap

Omega-3 EPA and DHA fatty acids are vital for human health, but current human nutritional requirements are greater than supply. This nutrient gap is poised to increase as demand increases and the abundance of aquatic foods and the amount of omega-3 they contain may dwindle due to climate change and overfishing. Identifying and mitigating loss and inefficiencies across the global aquatic supply chain has great…

The ‘seafood gap’ in the food-water nexus literature — issues surrounding freshwater use in seafood production chains

Freshwater use for food production is projected to increase substantially in the coming decades with population growth, changing demographics, and shifting diets. Ensuring joint food-water security has prompted efforts to quantify freshwater use for different food products and production methods. However, few analyses quantify freshwater use for seafood production, and those that do use inconsistent water accounting. This inhibits water use comparisons among seafood products…

Shocks to fish production: Identification, trends, and consequences

Sudden disruptions, or shocks, to food production can adversely impact access to and trade of food commodities. Seafood is the most traded food commodity and is globally important to human nutrition. The seafood production and trade system is exposed to a variety of disruptions including fishery collapses, natural disasters, oil spills, policy changes, and aquaculture disease outbreaks, aquafeed resource access and price spikes. The patterns…

Maintaining cooperation in social-ecological systems: Effective bottom-up management often requires sub-optimal resource use

Natural resources are vulnerable to overexploitation in the absence of effective management. However, norms, enforced by social ostracism, can promote cooperation and increase stock biomass in common-pool resource systems. Unfortunately, the long-term sustainable use of a resource is not assured even if cooperation, maintained by ostracism and aimed at optimizing resource use, exists. Here, using the example of fisheries, we show that for a cooperative…

Contribution of Fisheries and Aquaculture to Food Security and Poverty Reduction: Assessing the Current Evidence

Following a precise evaluation protocol that was applied to a pool of 202 articles published between 2003 and 2014, this paper evaluates the existing evidence of how and to what extent capture fisheries and aquaculture contribute to improving nutrition, food security, and economic growth in developing and emergent countries. In doing so we evaluate the quality and scientific rigor of that evidence, identify the key…

Applying resilience thinking to production ecosystems

Production ecosystems typically have a high dependence on supporting and regulating ecosystem services and while they have thus far managed to sustain production, this has often been at the cost of externalities imposed on other systems and locations. One of the largest challenges facing humanity is to secure the production of food and fiber while avoiding long-term negative impacts on ecosystems and the range of…

The Common Fisheries Policy: An enforcement problem

Marine populations in Europe are in decline due to the unsuccessful results of the Common Fisheries Policy. By combining data of scientific recommendations from ICES, TACs approved and reported landings with an age-structured model, the objectives of this paper are to investigate the level of compliance of the TAC regulation, and the level of enforcement and its economic impact on fishery resources. The results presented…

Creation of a Gilded Trap by the High Economic Value of the Maine Lobster Fishery

Unsustainable fishing simplifies food chains and, as with aquaculture, can result in reliance on a few economically valuable species. This lack of diversity may increase risks of ecological and economic disruptions. Centuries of intense fishing have extirpated most apex predators in the Gulf of Maine (United States and Canada), effectively creating an American lobster (Homarus americanus) monoculture. Over the past 20 years, the economic diversity…

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