Reframing the Sustainable Seafood Narrative by Shifting to a "Whole Chain" Perspective
Seafood is important for human nutrition and as a low environmental-impact food. Yet for 20 years, the sustainable seafood narrative has been promoting seafood for ocean health to markets in high-income countries. According to Michael F. Tlusty, an associate professor at the University of Massachusetts at Boston’s School for the Environment, it’s time to broaden the sustainable seafood narrative to address improvements to food systems across the entire value chain. The focus of the narrative also needs to move from a producer-centric to a “whole chain” perspective that includes greater inclusion of the later stages with a focus on food waste, byproduct utilization and consumption. Moreover, seafood should not be treated as a single aggregated item in sustainability assessments. Rather, it should be recognized as a highly diverse set of foods, with variable environmental impacts, edible yield rates and nutritional profiles. Clarifying discussions around seafood will help to deepen the integration of fisheries and aquaculture into the global agenda on sustainable food production, trade and consumption, and assist governments, private sector actors, NGOs, and academics alike in identifying where improvements can be made, according to Tlusty.
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