WorldFish Sets Aquatic Foods Research Agenda

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WorldFish has launched a new strategy charting a decade-long aquatic foods research and innovation agenda toward sustainable and equitable global food systems.
The WorldFish 2030 Research and Innovation Strategy: ‘Aquatic Foods for Healthy People and Planet,’ sets a pathway to end hunger and advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 through science and innovation to transform food, land and water systems with aquatic foods.

According to a report, currently, over 2 billion people around the world lack access to diverse, nutritious, and safe diets that can sustain healthy, active lives.
It noted that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and growing climate crisis underscored the call to transform the global food system.

“In response, WorldFish is broadening its mandate to include larger aspects of aquatic food systems and their essential role in sustaining human well-being and the health of our planet,” it added.

Fish and other aquatic foods provide around 3.3 billion people with 20 percent of their animal protein intake. The human appetite for aquatic foods shows no signs of slowing with global fish consumption rising at a yearly growth rate faster than beef.
“This agenda must link to the blue economy and ocean space, whose assets such as fisheries, shipping lanes and tourism are worth $24 trillion.

“This task is critical to ensure a full representation of the food system, address the complex links among food, land and water systems, and unlock an ocean of opportunities in an emerging blue economy that must prioritise social inclusion and equity.
“The WorldFish strategy lays the ground for aquatic food systems focused on achieving SDG 2: Zero Hunger while paying special attention to SDG 14: Life Below Water, leveraging both of these goals to score progress on other multiple SDGs,” it stated further.

It pointed out that the strategy provides a guiding framework for innovation at the intersection of research, technology, markets, policies, and social mobilisation across disciplines and sectors.
WorldFish Director General, Dr. Gareth Johnstone, was quoted to have said: “This aquatic foods research and innovation agenda is grounded in transformational COVID-19 recovery that builds long-term food systems solutions for healthy people and planet.”
“Fish and other aquatic foods are nutrient-rich, affordable, highly traded, and produced with a relatively low carbon footprint. They must occupy a central place in the global agricultural research agenda, which has traditionally focused on land-based crops and livestock.”

“For a resilient and inclusive food system, it’s time to look at land and sea through the same lens. We cannot thrive without all the food land and water can produce, in a sustainable way that takes into human health and the health of the planet.”
On his part, WorldFish Board Chair, Dr. Yusuf Abubakar, said: “Transforming global food systems toward healthy and sustainable diets is simply not possible without the opportunity to examine, quantify and include the contributions of aquatic food systems.
“Our priority is to better integrate fish and aquatic foods into the global agricultural research agenda and link the latter to the blue economy and ocean space, whose assets such as fisheries, shipping lanes and tourism are worth $24 trillion.”