06.10.2021

Blue food demand across geographic and temporal scales

Journal Article

Abstract: Numerous studies have focused on the need to expand production of ‘blue foods’, defined as aquatic foods captured or cultivated in marine and freshwater systems, to meet rising population- and income-driven demand. Here we analyze the roles of economic, demographic, and geographic factors and preferences in shaping blue food demand, using secondary data from FAO and The World Bank, parameters from published models, and case studies at national to sub-national scales. Our results show a weak cross-sectional relationship between per capita income and consumption globally when using an aggregate fish metric. Disaggregation by fish species group reveals distinct geographic patterns; for example, high consumption of freshwater fish in China and pelagic fish in Ghana and Peru where these fish are widely available, affordable, and traditionally eaten. We project a near doubling of global fish demand by mid-century assuming continued growth in aquaculture production and constant real prices for fish. Our study concludes that nutritional and environmental consequences of rising demand will depend on substitution among fish groups and other animal source foods in national diets. 

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Citation: Naylor, R.L., A. Kishore, U.R. Sumaila, I.Issifu, B.P. Hunter, B. Belton, S.R. Bush, L. Cao, S. Gelcich, J.A. Gephart, C.D. Golden, M. Jonell, J. Z. Koehn, D.C. Little, S. H. Thilsted, M. Tigchelaar and B. Crona 2021. Blue food demand across geographic and temporal scales. Nature Communications 12: article 5413