PerspectiveFOOD

Plating up solutions

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Science  16 Sep 2016:
Vol. 353, Issue 6305, pp. 1202-1204
DOI: 10.1126/science.aah4765

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  • Is fish a fish - adding fish to the global food sustainability transformation
    • Max Troell, Researcher, Beijer Institute / Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University
    • Other Contributors:
      • Friederike Ziegler, Researcher, SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden
      • Patrik Henriksson, Researcher, Stockholm Resilience Centre /Beijer Institute

    The Perspective on food sustainability (T. Garnett, 16 September, 353/6305) gives valuable insights related to links between dietary choices, environmental impacts and health. Substituting meat with fish could, as stated, only result in a transfer of impacts. If, however, fish is caught sustainably, respecting biological limits and using smart fishing methods, capture fisheries can produce low-impact food without requiring land, pesticides, fertilizers or irrigation (1). This is unique and fishery is the only large-scale food production system based on a wild resource. While many wild fish stocks are fully or over-exploited, global landings could potentially increase by up to 20% if stocks were properly managed (2).

    Half of the seafood eaten globally is farmed, which is more similar to land–based meat production. Feed production represents a large part of the environmental impacts of both livestock and farmed fish. Fish, however, invest more of its metabolic energy into growth than chicken, pigs or cows; as they don’t waste energy on keeping temperature homeostasis, nor on combating gravity. Fish, both from fisheries and aquaculture, have therefore repeatedly been shown to outcompete livestock in terms of environmental impacts (3, 4).

    However, fish represents a highly diverse commodity with vastly different environmental profiles (5,6). It is therefore crucial to push consumption towards the most low-impact products and production methods. Fish also provide...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.