REFERENCES AND RESOURCES: SUSTAINABLE SEAFOOD

🍎 Making the case for Sustainable Seafood & Regenerative Ocean Agriculture
  • Bianchi M, Hallström E, Parker R.W.R, et al. Assessing seafood nutritional diversity together with climate impacts informs more comprehensive dietary advice. Commun Earth Environ. 2022; 3, 188 (GREAT GRAPHICS/GRAPHS  in this paper).
    • The highest nutrient benefit at the lowest emissions is achieved by consuming wild-caught small pelagic and salmonid species, and farmed bivalves like mussels and oysters. Many but not all seafood species provide more nutrition at lower emissions than land animal proteins, especially red meat, but large differences exist, even within species groups and species, depending on production method. Which nutrients contribute to nutrient density differs between seafoods, as do the nutrient needs of population groups within and between countries or regions
    • In 2017, seafood accounted for 17 percent of the global intake of animal protein1
    • The global average performance of all seafood assessed, weighted by species production volume (the two lines in Fig. 1), has a higher nutrient density than beef, pork and chicken and lower GHG emissions than beef and pork.
    • Amongst the seafood groups defined, wild-caught salmonids (pink and sockeye salmon) and the small pelagic species (e.g. herrings, mackerels, and anchovies) and farmed bivalves have the lowest GHG emissions per nutrient density ratio
    • Crustaceans, both farmed (primarily tropical shrimp species), and wild-caught (various shrimp species, American lobster, etc) and cephalopods all result in higher than average emissions while providing lower than average nutritional scores.
    • Any future applications of the approach to specific populations should attempt to account for the dietary needs locally or of specific population sub-groups (defined by age, gender or socioeconomic parameters), as well as local availability of seafood products and their source.
  • Blue Food Assessment a coalition of more than 100 scientists from more than 25 institutions working together to fill knowledge gaps in our understanding of the role blue foods play, and to inform and drive change in the polices that will shape the future of our food systems.
  • Carballeira Braña CB, Cerbule K, et al. Towards environmental sustainability in marine finfish aquaculture. Frontiers. 2021.
    • This article covers the main factors of marine aquaculture and shares sustainable alternatives to waste reduction and exploitation of chemicals
    • “Intensive fish farming represents the highest environmental risk when compared to other aquaculture sectors due to the feeding needs and the chemicals used associated with the production process.”
  • Christenson et al. What Is Kelp and Why Is it Vital to People and the Planet?  World Resources Institute Website. 2023
    • From providing nursery habitats and foraging grounds for a wide range of marine organisms, to critically contributing to a sense of identity for Indigenous and coastal peoples that have used it for generations as medicine, food and material, kelp is of vital importance to the planet and to people.
    • Kelp abundance is declining globally by 1.8% annually. Its main threats include ocean warming, grazing, excess nutrients due to land run-off, also known as eutrophication, pollution, sedimentation, overharvesting and the introduction of invasive species and diseases.
  • Coleman J. Eating more fish: when switching to seafood helps — and when it doesn’t. Nature. 2022.
    • “The highest nutrient benefit at the lowest emissions is achieved by consuming wild-caught small pelagic and salmonid species, and farmed bivalves like mussels and oysters. Many but not all seafood species provide more nutrition at lower emissions than land animal proteins, especially red meat”
  • DaSiva et al. Increase of methane emission linked to net cage fish farms in a tropical reservoir. Environmental Challenges. 2021; 5, 100287.
    •  The article, “Increase of methane emission linked to net cage fish farms in a tropical reservoir. Environmental Challenges” discusses the relationship between CH4 emissions and net cage site locations. Results showed fish meal rich in carbon and phosphorus settled in the water and sediment around the net cages driving a significant increase in diffuse and ebullitive methane emissions.
  • Dauda AB, et al. “Waste Production in Aquaculture.” 2019.
    • Waste from aquaculture systems is classified as 1) solid wastes from uneaten feed and fecal droppings or as 2) dissolved waste products for food metabolism in fish or decomposed uneaten feed. Both solid wastes and dissolved wasted have harmful effects: solid wastes can cause stress, disease, and death; dissolved wastes produce nitrogen and phosphorus which are environmentally impactful water pollutants.
  • Farmed Seafood – WWF: an resource noting the negative impacts farmed seafood has on the land resources and diverse species we deem to protect.

  • FoodPrint is a non-profit organization dedicated to research on education on food production practices. Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) Certification ensure the safety of your seafood.
    •  Sustainable Seafood
    • “Our aim is to pull back the curtain on the impacts of industrial food production practices and explain the benefits of more sustainable approaches to food production and consumption. We also want to help people raise their collective voices and take action to make real change in the food system.”
  • Gephart JA, Henriksson PJ, Parker RW, et al. Environmental performance of blue foods. Nature. 2021; 597(7876):360-365.
    • “Furthermore, blue foods provide the highest nutrient richness across multiple micronutrients (for example, iron and zinc), vitamins (for example, B12), and long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (for example, EPA and DHA) relative to terrestrial animal-source foods10, which may provide greater incentive to shift demand as consumers generally prioritize seafood freshness, food safety, health and taste over sustainability.”
  • Jones AR, Alleway HK, et al. Climate-Friendly Seafood: The Potential for Emissions Reduction and Carbon Capture in Marine Aquaculture. BioScience. 2022; 72, 2, 123–143. 

    • This article proposes maricultured (marine aquaculture) products as a climate-friendly, high protein food source with a lower greenhouse gas emission footprint than farmed land animals.
  • Landrigan PJ, Stegeman JJ, Fleming LE, et al. Human health and ocean pollution. Annals of Global Health. 2020; 86(1):151.
    •  Addresses the negative impacts of land-based pollutants such as toxic metals, pesticides, fertilizers, pharmaceutical chemicals, agricultural runoff, and sewage on marine ecosystems and human health.
  • Lozano Muñoz, I., Díaz, N. F. (2020) Minerals in edible seaweed: Health benefits and food safety issues. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 62(6), 1592-1607.
    • Seaweeds are consequently rich in macro-elements and trace elements, with a mineral content at least 10 times higher than terrestrial plants and reaching 20-50% of its dry weight. Therefore, seaweeds can make an important contribution to the daily intake of minerals and are a promising source of essential minerals for functional food, food supplements, and nutraceuticals.
  • Murai, U., Yamagishi, K., Kishida, R., & Iso, H. (2020). Impact of seaweed intake on health. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 75(6), 877-889.
    • We here reviewed studies of the association between seaweed intake and mortality from or incidence of cancer and cardiovascular diseases, and their risk factors such as blood pressure or serum lipids.
    • We also summarized the adverse effects of iodine and arsenic species in seaweeds. Although seaweeds have not been widely consumed in Western countries, dietary diversification and an increased proportion of immigrants from East Asia may increase seaweed consumption in those countries.
  • Seafood Watch a sustainable food movement that seeks to uncover where your seafood comes from and what you need to know about seafood so you can make better choices in your business or everyday life.
  • Sultana, F., Wahab, M. A., Nahiduzzaman, M., Moiuddin, M., Iqbal, M. Z., Shakil, A., Mamun, A. A., Khan, M. S. R., Wong, L., & Asaduzzaman, M. (2023). Seaweed farming for food and nutritional security, climate change mitigation and adaption, and women empowerment: A review. Aquaculture and Fisheries, 8(5), 463-480.
    • This review paper highlights the significance of seaweed farming in global food and nutritional security, mitigation and adaptation to global climate change, and women empowerment within a single frame. This review paper also outlined the major issues and challenges of seaweed farming for obtaining maximum benefits in these aspects.
  • Sumaila UR, Tai TC. Ending overfishing can mitigate impacts of climate change. Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries Working Paper Series. 2019; 5.
    • The article ”End Overfishing and Increase the Resilience of the Ocean to Climate Change” discusses the relationship between overfishing and climate change and how ending overfishing can increase fish resilience to climate change. Overfishing leads to the loss of biodiversity and endangers the livelihood and health of the remaining fish population, decreasing their ability to withstand stressors such as climate change. Overfishing implies “catching targeted species beyond sustainable levels.” This puts at risk not only the life of the marine ecosystem but our own food security, coastal livelihood, and economics
  • Toolkits – aquatic foods. (n.d.). Aquatic Foods. Reviewed October 1, 2023.
    • Evidence-based tools and resources to support chefs and foodservice operators, leaders in consumer packaged goods, and nutrition professionals in promoting and marketing bivalves and sea vegetables to people throughout the United States. 
  • Tlusty et al. Reframing the sustainable seafood narrative. Global Environmental Change Volume 59, November 2019, 101991
    •  Seafood makes critical contributions to food and nutrition security, particularly in low income countries, and is often a more sustainable and nutrient rich source of animal sourced-food than terrestrial meat production. 
    • Seafood…should be recognized as a highly diverse set of foods, with variable environmental impacts, edible yield rates and nutritional profiles.

Additional Resources to Explore

Saving the Planet with your Fork

Saving the Planet with your Fork

While not everyone always has a choice in what they eat and buy, for those who do, what goes on the menu, plate or shopping cart can make a difference for our environment.   This doesn’t require perfection or a complete 180 in dietary habits.  But since our...

read more

Join Mary Purdy, MS, RDN on a journey for better human and planetary health! Sign up for Mary’s Newsletter