The Role of Seafood in Sustainable and Healthy Diets

The EAT-Lancet Commission Report
Resource type:
Reports and discussion papers

Aquatic food has a vital role to play in creating a global food system that supports a healthy human population on a healthy planet, yet it has been largely neglected in global efforts to chart the future of food.

The EAT-Lancet Commission report on healthy diets from sustainable food systems set scientific targets for healthy diets and environmentally sustainable global food systems. To accurately expand the EAT-Lancet report into a blue food context, several knowledge gaps must be filled.

This scoping report constitutes a first step in outlining a holistic look at how aquatic food can contribute to healthy and sustainable diets. Commissioned by EAT and authored by three EAT-Lancet authors from the Stockholm Resilience Centre, the report aims to elaborate on the role of blue food in the future food system, including how the food system model applied by the EAT-Lancet Commission dealt with aquatic food.

Key messages:

  • Seafood as a dietary component has many human health benefits and many are connected to the consumption of important omega 3 fatty acids.
  • All currently available estimates of future projection show limited growth for the capture sector, indicating that the lion share of future seafood demand will have to be produced through aquaculture.
  • A comparison of  future production estimates with the healthy reference diet, as recommended by the EAT-Lancet Commission report, shows a potential production-consumption gap, unless waste is significantly reduced.
  • Key assumptions in the modelling part of the EAT-Lancet Commission report result in an underestimation of impacts on planetary boundaries from seafood systems. Future development of the model should make sure that biodiversity impacts from capture fisheries and direct impacts from aquaculture are considered.
  • The environmental footprints of both capture fisheries and aquaculture can vary significantly, depending on species and production/harvesting practices.
  • Filling the anticipated future demand of seafood will require increased production, along with significant waste reduction (from harvest to plate), and a reduction in the environmental footprint of fisheries and aquaculture. This will necessitate a radical change in how seafood is produced and consumed and the governance structures influencing the extent to which seafood production is impacting planetary boundaries.
  •  In order to accurately translate the EAT-Lancet report to a blue food context, several knowledge gaps require to be filled. There is a need for a higher resolution of what different blue food diets would imply for planetary health, an expanded version of the EAT-Lancet food systems model, as well as more knowledge on how to achieve a blue food system transformation and increased resilience of fisheries and aquaculture in the future


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This resource presents evidence or data but has not been peer reviewed