Eating More Sustainably in 2017, Parts 1 and 2 cover

Eating More Sustainably in 2017, Parts 1 and 2

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The world population is expected to reach nearly 10 billion by 2050. In order to accommodate all the extra mouths to feed, food calorie production needs to increase by about 70 percent. We must find a way to meet the growing demand for food while contending with climate change and drought conditions and also addressing poverty and hunger. There are viable ways to increase food output without putting additional strain on our current resources.
Aquarium of the Pacific





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Eating More Sustainably in 2017, Parts 1 and 2

How Seafood is Going to Feed the World

The world population is expected to reach nearly 10 billion by 2050. In order to accommodate all the extra mouths to feed, food calorie production needs to increase by about 70 percent. We must find a way to meet the growing demand for food while contending with climate change and drought conditions and also addressing poverty and hunger. There are viable ways to increase food output without putting additional strain on our current resources.

These include:

Switching to production of foods that are less land and water-intensive, and

Decreasing the gaps in the food production and supply chain so that we waste less food.

All forms of food production come at a cost in terms of land and water use and greenhouse gas emissions. Land-based animal protein, such as beef, pork, and chicken, is extremely resource-intensive relative to sea and plant-based proteins. In particular, beef production utilizes approximately fourteen times more land area and emits approximately sixteen times more greenhouse gases than does seafood production.

Decreasing our consumption of land-based proteins would improve the ecological footprint of our food consumption and reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. A more balanced diet that includes consuming more veggies and seafood is good not only for us, but also for the planet!

Seafood is among the healthiest proteins on the planet. Research has shown that eating more seafood can reduce the risk of heart disease, improve brain development and function, help build muscle and tissues, and may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

So, what can we do to increase the amount of seafood we produce? Marine aquaculture will play a major role in efforts to increase food production.

The ocean covers more than 70 percent of Earth’s surface, yet capture fisheries and a small marine aquaculture sector provide less than 2 percent of the global food supply. There is great potential to increase seafood production through aquaculture.

Of course, aquaculture production can also have harmful impacts on the environment. However, the United States has some of the most comprehensive environmental, seafood safety, and regulatory programs in the world. A combination of proper siting and good husbandry, coupled with the best management practices and use of appropriate technologies, can minimize—and even eliminate—these harmful effects.

Reducing our impact from food consumption doesn’t mean that you have to give up meat. Small shifts in our diets, such as replacing one hamburger a week with a fish sandwich, can help to reduce our environmental footprint, while also improving our health!

Here are some protein-packed seafood recipes to give you a head start toward healthy and environmentally responsible eating in 2017.

Macadamia Nut Crusted Kampachi

Miso-Marinated Black Cod

Lemongrass Marinated Sablefish with Kaffier Lime Gremolata

Crispy Oysters with Fresh Horseradish Cocktail Sauce

Mediterranean-style Herring Linguine

Geoduck, Sashimi and Sautéed

Spiced Opah Banana Leaf en Papillote

Part 2: Minimizing Seafood Waste at the Consumer Level

In Part 1, we introduced the need to increase food production. The world population is expected to reach nearly 10 billion by 2050. However, due to limited resources, it is not enough to increase our net production simply by producing more land-based food. Thus, we highlighted the potential efficacy of increasing net calorie production for the growing world population by switching to less land-intensive resources, such as seafood.

Another viable way to increase food production is to decrease the gaps in food production and supply chain through which food is lost.

Approximately 40 percent of the food in the American food supply is wasted.

The gaps through which we lose food can be located anywhere along the supply chain, from crop harvesting to underutilizing edible food parts, to leftover dinners tossed in the garbage. Research suggests that the amount of seafood waste is even higher, at up to 47 percent. More than half of the seafood wasted is at the consumer level, suggesting that if we consumers make small changes in the way we buy and prepare seafood, we can decrease the amount of seafood lost.

Here are some simple steps to ensure that you get the health benefits from seafood, while saving the planet and your wallet:

Be cautious of spoilage: One of the most challenging issues with keeping seafood is that it spoils easily. You can prevent seafood loss due to spoilage by being aware of the shelf life of seafood.

Freeze your food: If your seafood is about to spoil, or needs to be kept for a long time, freezing your seafood can increase its longevity. While there are different ways to freeze different seafood, in general, mollusks should be shucked before freezing and fish should be descaled, gutted, and deboned.

Make stock: Use uncommonly used parts of the seafood to make seafood stock. For example, this recipe calls for shrimp shells.

Make compost: Seafood waste is still rich with nutrients that can be used in your garden, so use the remains for nutrient-dense compost.

Of course, there are many other stages of the supply chain through which we lose seafood. One way to reduce these losses is to buy seafood directly from the fishermen and fish farmers, which allows us to:

Reduce the length of the supply chain to minimize the losses through various steps of the supply chain.

Get cheaper fish: Buying whole seafood directly from the fisher is generally cheaper than buying fish that has gone through additional steps to be processed and prepared.

Reduce the risk of fish fraud: Fish fraud is a global problem in which fish are intentionally or unintentionally mislabeled. This means that illegally caught fish can enter the supply chain and that consumers can be cheated by deceiving them and making them think they are paying for a more expensive fish.

Check out these local fisherman’s markets where you can buy seafood directly from fishermen:

The Dory Fleet - Newport Beach

Ventura Harbor Fisherman’s Market

West Caught Fish Company – Newport Beach

Tuna Harbor

Santa Barbara Fisherman’s Market

Community Seafood - Santa Barbara

Our conscious efforts at the individual level to get the most out of our seafood not only saves our wallets, but also reduces seafood waste, ensuring that we can continue to sustainably eat seafood in the future.