Fisheries, Aquaculture at Global Risk from Environmental Change

Many of the world’s largest aquatic food producers are highly vulnerable to human-induced environmental change, with some of the highest-risk countries in Asia, Latin America and Africa demonstrating the lowest capacity for adaptation, a landmark study has shown.

The study shows that more than 90 percent of global “blue” food production, in both capture fisheries and aquaculture, faces substantial risks from environmental change, with several leading countries in Asia and the United States set to face the greatest threats to production.

The authors behind the new paper produced the first-ever global analysis of environmental stressors impacting the production quantity and safety of blue foods around the world, ranking countries for the first time according to their exposure from key stressors. A total of 17 stressors were surveyed, including algal blooms, sea level rise, changing temperatures and pesticide exposure.

The research, published by Nature Sustainability, titled “Vulnerability of Blue Foods to Human-induced Environmental Change,” is one of seven scientific papers published by the Blue Food Assessment (BFA) as part of a global effort to inform future aquatic food sustainability.

Among the report’s key recommendations is a call for more transboundary collaboration and adaptation strategies that recognize that the ecosystems that blue food production rely upon are highly interconnected, with environmental change in one area having potential knock-on effects elsewhere.

The authors also call for a diversification of blue food production in high-risk countries to cope with the impact of environmental change.

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