This paper revolves around the role that food-from-the-sea plays in European maritime security. It aims to illustrate the links between food, fisheries, and maritime security by considering these as coexisting attributes of security in general and of maritime (in)security, in particular. The article analyzes three dimensions of this issue: the links between food security, maritime security and maritime policy; the principles that inspire the Common Fisheries Policy and their implications for the food system; and the complexity involved in the trade relations between European markets (EU) and non European suppliers (the case of Cape Verde). The relevant conclusions that can be established are i) the EU's food security policy shows little sign of changing the course of its fisheries policy objectives; ii) The different dimensions of the relationship between fisheries and food security should not be neglected. In fact, from a local perspective, the concept of food sovereignty could be applied to some of the European Union's coastal territories. Therefore, European decision-makers should not ignore the fact that subsistence fisheries are still a strategy in some European coastal areas, where access to maritime resources is the key to their economies.
Aquaculture, Seafood, and Food Security
Norway is the world’s largest producer of farmed Atlantic salmon and is home to ∼400 rivers containing wild salmon populations. Farmed escapees, a reoccurring challenge of all cage-based marine aquaculture, pose a threat to the genetic integrity, productivity, and evolutionary trajectories of wild populations. Escapees have been monitored in Norwegian rivers since 1989, and, a second-generation programme was established in 2014. The new programme includes data from summer angling, autumn angling, broodstock sampling, and snorkelling surveys in >200 rivers, and >25 000 scale samples are analysed annually. In 2014–2017, escapees were observed in two-thirds of rivers surveyed each year, and between 15 and 30 of the rivers had >10% recorded escapees annually. In the period 1989–2017, a reduction in the proportion of escapees in rivers was observed, despite a >6-fold increase in aquaculture production. This reflected improved escape prevention, and possibly changes in production methods that influence post-escape behaviour. On average, populations estimated to experience the greatest genetic introgression from farmed salmon up to 2014 also had the largest proportions of escapees in 2014–2017. Thus, populations already most affected are those at greatest risk of further impacts. These data feed into the annual risk-assessment of Norwegian aquaculture and form the basis for directing mitigation efforts.
We analysed the total mercury (Hg) accumulation in bodies and gut contents of 13 species of marine wild fish, 7 species of wild freshwater fish and 4 species of farmed fish. In addition, metal concentrations were recorded in water, sediment, fish prey and fodder materials, to track the dynamics of bio-accumulation. Cultured freshwater fish were collected at four Austrian farms and compared with samples obtained from markets. Wild marine fish were collected at Santa Croce bank, in Italy (Mediterranean Sea). Metal accumulation varied with sampling site, species, and age (or weight) of fish. Wild marine fish exhibited higher levels than wild freshwater fish, which in turn had higher Hg levels than cultured freshwater fish. Mercury increased according to trophic levels of consumers. Total Hg contents in muscle of cultured and wild freshwater fish sampled in 2006-2008 did not exceed legal nutritional limits. Similarly, in market samples of trout and carp collected in 2019, we found low or undetectable concentrations of total Hg in muscle tissue. In contrast, some marine fish (both market samples and some species from coastal waters) exceeded the legal limits. Environmental contamination, food webs and biological factors are the main causes of Hg accumulation in fish. Our results reflect the actual differences between specific European sites and should not be generalized. However, they support the generally increasing demand for monitoring mercury pollution in view of its impact on human health and its value as an indicator of ecosystem contamination.
National authorities in many countries advise their populations to eat more seafood, for health and sometimes for environmental purposes, but give little guidance as to what type of seafood should be consumed. The large diversity in species and production methods results in variability both in the nutritional content and in the environmental performance of seafoods. More targeted dietary advice for sustainable seafood consumption requires a better understanding of the relative nutritional benefits against environmental costs of various types of seafood. This study analyzes the combined climate and nutritional performance of seafood commonly consumed in Sweden, originating all over the world. Nutrient density scores, assessed by seven alternative methods, are combined with species- technology- and origin-specific greenhouse gas emission data for 37 types of seafood. An integrated score indicates which seafood products provide the greatest nutritional value at the lowest climate costs and hence should be promoted from this perspective. Results show that seafoods consumed in Sweden differ widely in nutritional value as well as climate impact and that the two measures are not correlated across all species. Dietary changes towards increased consumption of more seafood choices where a correlation exists (e.g. pelagic species like sprat, herring and mackerel) would benefit both health and climate. Seafoods with a higher climate impact in relation to their nutritional value (e.g. shrimp, Pangasius and plaice) should, on the other hand, not be promoted in dietary advice. The effect of individual nutrients and implications of different nutrient density scores is evaluated. This research is a first step towards modelling the joint nutritional and climate benefits of seafood as a concrete baseline for policy-making, e.g. in dietary advice. It should be followed up by modelling other species, including environmental toxins in seafood in the nutrition score, and expanding to cover other environmental aspects.
Marine pollution due to littering from anthropogenic activities is a serious global environmental problem—the main reason accumulation of debris in the environment, including in the ocean. There is a significant hazard coming from plastic debris. Besides entanglement and ingestion, marine plastics debris has more complex problems and can release additional and by-product chemical substances. If we keep producing and not doing anything, a recent study said by 2050 there would be three times more plastic than fish in the ocean. We only have a limited understanding of marine plastic debris distribution, implication, fate, and behavior. Science is the key to getting the right alternative for processing debris. To prevent marine pollution successfully requires education and outreach programs, strong laws and policies, and law enforcement for government and private institutions. This chapter explores marine plastic debris.
Aquaculture represents an increasingly significant share of the global supply of freshwater and marine resources. The distribution of benefits from aquaculture development will largely depend on who has the resources necessary to participate in the sector and how the sector is governed. We investigate the extent to which aquaculture is being utilized by commercial fishermen to expand and diversify their livelihoods in Maine, USA. Here, a network approach is used to delineate individuals' participation in aquaculture and wild-capture fisheries. Results show that while some fishermen are starting aquaculture businesses, aquaculture has had a limited effect on livelihood diversification for those engaged in the commercial fishing sector to date. These findings raise questions about who will benefit from aquaculture and how the continued growth will compete with existing marine resource sectors, including wild-capture fisheries. We argue that the extent to which aquaculture can foster livelihood diversification in the long term and fit within existing coastal economies will largely depend on the institutions that are established to govern the sector.
The vaquita (Phocoena sinus) is the world's smallest cetacean and most endangered marine mammal. The species is under threat from illegal fishing activities that take place in the upper Gulf of California (UGC). Artisanal use of gillnets to catch shrimp and poach the endangered totoaba are the primary drivers of vaquita population declines due to bycatch. About 80% of shrimp caught in the UGC is sold to the United States, meaning Americans who consume shrimp may have a direct connection to the plight of the critically endangered vaquita. However, this issue as part of the human dimensions of vaquita conservation has been largely unstudied. Additionally, the majority of Americans are unfamiliar with the vaquita which hinders conservation efforts. This article calls for further research into the human dimensions of vaquita conservation, increased collaboration with fishing communities in the UGC, and connecting seafood sellers and consumers with the vaquita crisis.
Indonesia is the main tropical seaweed producer in the world with approximately 70,000 families depending on this activity. The red macroalgae Kappaphycus spp. and Eucheuma denticulatum are the most common species cultivated and used for carrageenan in the processed foods industry. Seaweed farming is an accessible form of mariculture requiring low capital investment and enabling improved living standards in different regions. Nevertheless, farmers suffer from boom and bust cycles due to seaweed price volatility and algal diseases. Limited research has been done on Rote Island, East Nusa Tenggara province, which is among one of the poorest regions in Indonesia where culturing seaweed has become popular. This study assesses seaweed farming practices and their impact on household economy by looking at the overall income generating activities of households involved in seaweed farming. The information was collected using structured interviews with questions related to socio-demographic characteristics, household income, farming practices and challenges. Findings of this study highlight farmers' dependence on seaweed farming activities in southwest Rote, where 50% of the households rely on the income through this activity as their only cash source. During the time of the study, two-thirds of the families were living under the poverty line. Seasonality played a crucial role in seaweed production with negative impacts during the dry season. Thus, families with additional livelihoods seemed to cope better during low production seasons. Seaweed farming practices show room for improvement, and farmers could benefit from activities targeting enhanced productivity of their farms.
The ecosystem approach to aquaculture (EAA) considers ecosystem services (ES) important, but does not provide a conceptual framework or a typology to integrate and assess them. To supplement the EAA, a literature review of the ES conceptual framework and ES typologies was combined with selected criteria from the EAA and ES literature. Eight criteria of transition from a conventional approach to aquaculture to the EAA were used as selection criteria to choose a conceptual framework of ES relevant with the EAA. To select a typology, we determined that ES must be distinguished from benefits, be a part of nature, be usable directly and indirectly, and not contain support or habitat ES. The conceptual framework of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) is the most compatible with the EAA but does not provide an ES typology. The Common International Classification of Ecosystem Services (CICES) provides the ES typology most consistent with EAA criteria to supplement the conceptual framework. We identified 10 provisioning ES, 20 regulation and maintenance ES, and 11 cultural ES. Integration of the IPBES conceptual framework with the CICES typology preserves the generic approach of the EAA. This integration could highlight the main interactions among an aquaecosystem, its ES supply, its management, and its relevant stakeholders at multiple spatial and temporal scales. Moreover, it fulfils the three main goals of the EAA by identifying them in a clear and common framework.
The growth of marine aquaculture over the 21st century is a promising venture for food security because of its potential to fulfill the seafood deficit in the future. However, to maximize the use of marine space and its resources, the spatial planning of marine aquaculture needs to consider the regimes of climate variability in the oceanic environment, which are characterized by large-amplitude interannual to decadal fluctuations. It is common to see aquaculture spatial planning schemes that do not take variability into consideration. This assumption may be critical for management and for the expansion of marine aquaculture, because projects require investments of capital and need to be profitable to establish and thrive. We analyze the effect of climate variability on the profitability of hypothetical mussel aquaculture systems in the Southern California Bight. Using historical environmental data from 1981 to 2008, we combine mussel production and economics models at different sites along the coast to estimate the Net Present Value as an economic indicator of profitability. We find that productivity of the farms exhibits a strong coherent behavior with marketed decadal fluctuations that are connected to climate of the North Pacific Basin, in particular linked to the phases of the North Pacific Gyre Oscillation (NPGO). This decadal variability has a strong impact on profitability both temporally and spatially, and emerges because of the mussels’ dependence on multiple oceanic environmental variables. Depending on the trend of the decadal regimes in mussel productivity and the location of the farms, these climate fluctuations will affect cost recovery horizon and profitability for a given farm. These results suggest that climate variability should be taken into consideration by managers and investors on decision making to maximize profitability.