Aquatic foods to nourish nations

Christopher D. Golden*, J. Zachary Koehn, Alon Shepon, Simone Passarelli, Christopher M. Free, Daniel F. Viana, Holger Matthey, Jacob G. Eurich, Jessica A. Gephart, Etienne Fluet-Chouinard, Elizabeth A. Nyboer, Abigail J. Lynch, Marian Kjellevold, Sabri Bromage, Pierre Charlebois, Manuel Barange, Stefania Vannuccini, Ling Cao, Kristin M. Kleisner, Eric B. RimmGoodarz Danaei, Camille DeSisto, Heather Kelahan, Kathryn J. Fiorella, David C. Little, Edward H. Allison, Jessica Fanzo, Shakuntala H. Thilsted

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite contributing to healthy diets for billions of people, aquatic foods are often undervalued as a nutritional solution because their diversity is often reduced to the protein and energy value of a single food type (‘seafood’ or ‘fish’)1–4. Here we create a cohesive model that unites terrestrial foods with nearly 3,000 taxa of aquatic foods to understand the future impact of aquatic foods on human nutrition. We project two plausible futures to 2030: a baseline scenario with moderate growth in aquatic animal-source food (AASF) production, and a high-production scenario with a 15-million-tonne increased supply of AASFs over the business-as-usual scenario in 2030, driven largely by investment and innovation in aquaculture production. By comparing changes in AASF consumption between the scenarios, we elucidate geographic and demographic vulnerabilities and estimate health impacts from diet-related causes. Globally, we find that a high-production scenario will decrease AASF prices by 26% and increase their consumption, thereby reducing the consumption of red and processed meats that can lead to diet-related non-communicable diseases5,6 while also preventing approximately 166 million cases of inadequate micronutrient intake. This finding provides a broad evidentiary basis for policy makers and development stakeholders to capitalize on the potential of aquatic foods to reduce food and nutrition insecurity and tackle malnutrition in all its forms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-320
Number of pages6
Issue number7880
StatePublished - 14 Oct 2021


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