Lost in the sea? Can science guide citizens in seafood consumer decisions?

September 6, 2020 12:00 - 1:30

Location: Room 27B


Seafood consumption is projected to grow in an increasingly populated and prosperous world. The target of meeting dietary needs and cultural preferences interacts with the concern over the health of the oceans. The threat of the collapse of wild-caught fisheries is further affected by a number of other stressors, such as CC, eutrophication, habitat destruction and extensive aquaculture. This panel will explore the extent to which science can provide answers to the questions, implicit in ensuring sustainable food systems from the seas. Can the UN SDGs – 2, 12 and 14 actually be met simultaneously?
The roundtable will tackle the issues from the perspective of an individual: Is science capable of providing answers regarding seafood in a way that allows an improvement of the citizen/consumer contribution to the governance of the oceans?
The questions will include:
Citizens are informed of the importance of diets, fish stocks, reduced bycatch, working conditions of fishers, hygiene standards etc. Is it possible to account for all these goals through a single consumer decision?
Is there a uniform scientific position on the optimal scale of fisheries – industrial or small-scale – to be advocated in a policy reform?
How is the carbon footprint of the seafood industry (due to travel, refrigeration, energy input) integrated into assessments of the product’s sustainability, esp. vis-à-vis other environmental and social factors?
What is the scope for advances in data collection (geochemical, biochemical, and molecular methods) and data transmission (internet of things, blockchain, bar/QR coding and integrated databases) in improving traceably and transparency of seafood?
What are some of the most promising directions for progress in sustainable food from the oceans? How realistic is a switch towards under-used species, increased use of algae and directing all fish only for direct consumption?
Are oceans natural heritage to be preserved or a farm to be harvested? Is a mix feasible?

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