Health in All Seafood Policies: From Net or Fish Farm to Plate
Monday, November 2, 2015: 2:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
We rely on aquatic ecosystems for water, food, recreation and many other environmental services. Effective policies that regulate how humans use these resources are necessary for maintaining a healthy environment and human population, and this session will focus on the challenges we face along the seafood supply chain and the latest developments in implementation of policies aimed at creating a sustainable and safe seafood supply.
For several decades, national governments and international bodies have mismanaged our ocean resources, despite increasingly urgent warnings from scientists. It was once conventional wisdom that the oceans were too vast to be impacted by human behavior, but we now know that we have fundamentally changed the community structure, ecosystem function, and biodiversity of aquatic life in the ocean. If current trends continue, overfishing, climate change, and environmental degradation will have a profound impact on local and global food security. Various policies have been put into place to control overfishing and other practices, but attaining international cooperation and enforcement is a significant challenge.
The annual global wild fish catch has not increased in decades, and many people view aquaculture, or fish farming, as the solution for expanding the seafood supply. Aquaculture now provides about half of the seafood we eat, however, using wild caught fish as feed for aquaculture is tipping the scales towards further depletion of the global seafood supply. In addition, certain aquaculture production practices damage the surrounding environment and can threaten public health.
Lastly, seafood dietary advice balances nutrition benefits and food safety concerns, and current guidelines advise Americans to double their intake. This advice is supported by nutrition research, but if followed it may lead to over-purchasing, more food waste, and a decrease in long-term seafood availability. There has been a push to include sustainability considerations in the 2015 U.S. dietary guidelines, and this would be a significant development.
Given the current state of the global seafood supply chain, it is critical for public health professionals to understand the range of issues involved with production and consumption, and the complexity involved with enacting policies that support health, equity, sustainability, and resilience.
Session Objectives: 1. Describe the main challenges associated with implementing policies aimed at halting biodiversity losses in the ocean caused by overfishing.
2. Compare the benefits and negative impacts of aquaculture production on the environment and public health.
3. List the two stages of the U.S. seafood supply chain (from net or fish farm to plate) that involve the most wasted edible seafood.
4. Discuss the complex nature of developing and implementing seafood consumption policies in regard to unsustainable production practices, global food security, food safety, nutrition research, and consumer confusion.
See individual abstracts for presenting author's disclosure statement and author's information.
Organized by: Environment
Endorsed by: Food and Nutrition, Ethics, Law, International Health, APHA-Committee on Women's Rights
Medical (CME), Health Education (CHES), Nursing (CNE), Public Health (CPH)