News and opinion

Blue foods and why the world needs them

September 23, 2021

As the United Nations holds its first Food Systems Summit, MSC CEO challenges decision makers to agree to meaningful, co-ordinated and cooperative change.

Aerial shot of open can of tuna with fork on white plate on blue wooden table

Sustainable and well-managed food from our oceans, or “blue foods”, must be one of the “key pillars” to address the looming crisis of how to feed fast-growing populations, writes Marine Stewardship Council CEO Rupert Howes.

With the global population estimated to reach 10 billion by 2050, Howes says: “Food from our ocean offers huge potential to alleviate hunger. This potential can only be unlocked, however, if governments work together to create sustainable and well managed food systems.”

Writing in the The Hill, the largest independent political news site in the US, Howes says that the world is looking to the United Nations as it holds its first Food Systems Summit, as an opportunity for decision makers to decide on meaningful, co-ordinated and cooperative change.

Running alongside the UN General Assembly in New York the Summit is set up to leverage the power of food systems to drive recovery from Covid-19 and achieve all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. Its aim is to design bold new actions to help end poverty and hunger and promote responsible consumption.

Welcoming the Summit, the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, said that: “A well-functioning food system can help prevent conflict, protect the environment and provide health and livelihoods for all.”

The UN has made blue foods central to achieving the goals of the summit. Its website says that blue foods – fish, aquatic plants, mussels and algae, not only provide health benefits, but also play a significant role “in supporting a healthy and resilient planet.”

While the ocean covers 70% of our planet, but provides only 5% of our food, blue foods have enormous potential to provide sustainable and healthy foods to meet the challenge of a growing population.

However, there are challenges that urgently need to be addressed before blue foods can become truly sustainable.

Read MSC CEO Rupert Howe’s editorial in The Hill to find out more about the importance of blue food and how to overcome these challenges.

UN Decade of Ocean Science

UN Decade of Ocean Science

The MSC actively supports the UN’s Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development and its drive to increase collection and analysis of ocean data between 2021 and 2030.

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