Blind spots in visions of a “blue economy” could undermine the ocean's contribution to eliminating hunger and malnutrition
Increasing the production of food from the ocean is seen as a pathway toward more sustainable and healthier human diets. Yet this potential is being overshadowed by competing uses of ocean resources in an accelerating “blue economy.” The current emphasis on production growth, rather than equitable distribution of benefits, has created three unexamined or flawed assumptions that growth in the blue economy will lead to growth in “blue food” production, increased production will inevitably lead to improved food and nutrition security, and mariculture production will replace marine capture fisheries. In this perspective, we argue that if research and policies are pursued without addressing these “blind spots,” blue food contributions to reducing hunger and malnutrition, and to meeting the Sustainable Development Goals, will be limited. Taking a broader food-system approach beyond production to also considering food access, affordability, and consumption will refocus the blue food agenda on making production and consumption more equitable and sustainable while increasing access for those who need it most.
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