Sustainable optimization of global aquatic omega-3 supply chain could substantially narrow the nutrient gap
Omega-3 EPA and DHA fatty acids are vital for human health, but current human nutritional requirements are greater than supply. This nutrient gap is poised to increase as demand increases and the abundance of aquatic foods and the amount of omega-3 they contain may dwindle due to climate change and overfishing. Identifying and mitigating loss and inefficiencies across the global aquatic supply chain has great potential for narrowing this nutrient gap. Here, using an optimization model, we show that omega-3 supply to humans could potentially increase by as much as 50% (reaching 630 kt y−1) compared to present baseline by shifting feed inputs to produce species that have the highest omega-3 content per feed input (i.e. carp and crustaceans), diverting other production flows towards direct wild fish consumption, improving byproduct utilization, and reducing waste at the retail and consumer level. We then discuss the implications of our findings by prioritizing policies and identifying demand- and supply-side interventions to realize these ambitious changes. This work emphasizes the urgency needed in managing aquatic resources towards greater utilization of resources and highlights the extent to which even partial adaptation of the measures we propose can have on narrowing the present and future nutrient gap as novel alternative sources of omega-3 become available on a larger scale.
Research news | 2024-02-20
Having good neighbours and few top predators make predatory fish populations more resilient
A regime shift is gradually spreading through the archipelagos of the Swedish Baltic Sea coast, where shallow bays, previously dominated by pike and perch have one by one become dominated by one of their prey species, the three-spined stickleback.
Research news | 2024-02-08
Eating new plant-based foods can be good for the environment, your health and your economy
Replacing animal-source foods with plant-based alternatives or whole foods decreases environmental impact, meets nutrition recommendations, and can be cost-competitive with the current average Swedish diet
Research news | 2024-01-29
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Groups of guillemots on an island in the Baltic Sea have unknowingly inspired how marine research can be done. Two AI-powered research projects can change how to monitor marine ecosystems – and potentially manage them in real-time
Research news | 2024-01-24
Centralised social networks can hinder innovation by making decision-making too similar
Social systems where influence is centred around one or two individuals can lead to pack mentality and groupthink in farming communities
Research news | 2024-01-23
Planetary Commons: Fostering global cooperation to safeguard critical Earth system functions
We should look at tipping elements of the Earth system as global commons, argue researchers in a new paper published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Research news | 2024-01-22
Soy: A world journey from success to uncertainty
From a bean valued for its multitude of functions in ancient China to one of the most traded agricultural commodities of the modern world: the soybean has gone through dramatic changes throughout the millennia.