Does aquaculture add resilience to the global food system?

M. Troell, R. Naylor, M. Metian, M. Beveridge, P.H. Tyedmers, C. Folke, K.J. Arrow, S. Barrett, A.S. Crépin, P. Ehrlich, A. Gren, N. Kautsky, S.A. Levin, K. Nyborg, H. Osterblom, S. Polasky, M. Scheffer, B. Walker, A. Xepapadeas, A.J. de Zeeuw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Aquaculture is the fastest growing food sector and continues to expand alongside terrestrial crop and livestock production. Using portfolio theory as a conceptual framework, we explore how current interconnections between the aquaculture, crop, livestock, and fisheries sectors act as an impediment to, or an opportunity for, enhanced resilience in the global food system given increased resource scarcity and climate change. Aquaculture can potentially enhance resilience through improved resource use efficiencies and increased diversification of farmed species, locales of production, and feeding strategies. However, aquaculture’s reliance on terrestrial crops and wild fish for feeds, its dependence on freshwater and land for culture sites, and its broad array of environmental impacts diminishes its ability to add resilience. Feeds for livestock and farmed fish that are fed rely largely on the same crops, although the fraction destined for aquaculture is presently small (∼4%). As demand for high-value fed aquaculture products grows, competition for these crops will also rise, as will the demand for wild fish as feed inputs. Many of these crops and forage fish are also consumed directly by humans and provide essential nutrition for low-income households. Their rising use in aquafeeds has the potential to increase price levels and volatility, worsening food insecurity among the most vulnerable populations. Although the diversification of global food production systems that includes aquaculture offers promise for enhanced resilience, such promise will not be realized if government policies fail to provide adequate incentives for resource efficiency, equity, and environmental protection.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13257-13263
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume111
Issue number37
Early online date18 Aug 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Sep 2014

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aquaculture
food
crop
fish
livestock
resource scarcity
livestock farming
household income
food production
resource use
conceptual framework
crop production
production system
equity
forage
nutrition
incentive
environmental protection
environmental impact
fishery

Keywords

  • food portfolio management
  • crop resources
  • diversity
  • shocks
  • global change

Cite this

Troell, M. ; Naylor, R. ; Metian, M. ; Beveridge, M. ; Tyedmers, P.H. ; Folke, C. ; Arrow, K.J. ; Barrett, S. ; Crépin, A.S. ; Ehrlich, P. ; Gren, A. ; Kautsky, N. ; Levin, S.A. ; Nyborg, K. ; Osterblom, H. ; Polasky, S. ; Scheffer, M. ; Walker, B. ; Xepapadeas, A. ; de Zeeuw, A.J. / Does aquaculture add resilience to the global food system?. In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2014 ; Vol. 111, No. 37. pp. 13257-13263.
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abstract = "Aquaculture is the fastest growing food sector and continues to expand alongside terrestrial crop and livestock production. Using portfolio theory as a conceptual framework, we explore how current interconnections between the aquaculture, crop, livestock, and fisheries sectors act as an impediment to, or an opportunity for, enhanced resilience in the global food system given increased resource scarcity and climate change. Aquaculture can potentially enhance resilience through improved resource use efficiencies and increased diversification of farmed species, locales of production, and feeding strategies. However, aquaculture’s reliance on terrestrial crops and wild fish for feeds, its dependence on freshwater and land for culture sites, and its broad array of environmental impacts diminishes its ability to add resilience. Feeds for livestock and farmed fish that are fed rely largely on the same crops, although the fraction destined for aquaculture is presently small (∼4{\%}). As demand for high-value fed aquaculture products grows, competition for these crops will also rise, as will the demand for wild fish as feed inputs. Many of these crops and forage fish are also consumed directly by humans and provide essential nutrition for low-income households. Their rising use in aquafeeds has the potential to increase price levels and volatility, worsening food insecurity among the most vulnerable populations. Although the diversification of global food production systems that includes aquaculture offers promise for enhanced resilience, such promise will not be realized if government policies fail to provide adequate incentives for resource efficiency, equity, and environmental protection.",
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Troell, M, Naylor, R, Metian, M, Beveridge, M, Tyedmers, PH, Folke, C, Arrow, KJ, Barrett, S, Crépin, AS, Ehrlich, P, Gren, A, Kautsky, N, Levin, SA, Nyborg, K, Osterblom, H, Polasky, S, Scheffer, M, Walker, B, Xepapadeas, A & de Zeeuw, AJ 2014, 'Does aquaculture add resilience to the global food system?', Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 111, no. 37, pp. 13257-13263. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1404067111

Does aquaculture add resilience to the global food system? / Troell, M.; Naylor, R.; Metian, M.; Beveridge, M.; Tyedmers, P.H.; Folke, C.; Arrow, K.J.; Barrett, S.; Crépin, A.S.; Ehrlich, P.; Gren, A.; Kautsky, N.; Levin, S.A.; Nyborg, K.; Osterblom, H.; Polasky, S.; Scheffer, M.; Walker, B.; Xepapadeas, A.; de Zeeuw, A.J.

In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Vol. 111, No. 37, 16.09.2014, p. 13257-13263.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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AU - Troell, M.

AU - Naylor, R.

AU - Metian, M.

AU - Beveridge, M.

AU - Tyedmers, P.H.

AU - Folke, C.

AU - Arrow, K.J.

AU - Barrett, S.

AU - Crépin, A.S.

AU - Ehrlich, P.

AU - Gren, A.

AU - Kautsky, N.

AU - Levin, S.A.

AU - Nyborg, K.

AU - Osterblom, H.

AU - Polasky, S.

AU - Scheffer, M.

AU - Walker, B.

AU - Xepapadeas, A.

AU - de Zeeuw, A.J.

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N2 - Aquaculture is the fastest growing food sector and continues to expand alongside terrestrial crop and livestock production. Using portfolio theory as a conceptual framework, we explore how current interconnections between the aquaculture, crop, livestock, and fisheries sectors act as an impediment to, or an opportunity for, enhanced resilience in the global food system given increased resource scarcity and climate change. Aquaculture can potentially enhance resilience through improved resource use efficiencies and increased diversification of farmed species, locales of production, and feeding strategies. However, aquaculture’s reliance on terrestrial crops and wild fish for feeds, its dependence on freshwater and land for culture sites, and its broad array of environmental impacts diminishes its ability to add resilience. Feeds for livestock and farmed fish that are fed rely largely on the same crops, although the fraction destined for aquaculture is presently small (∼4%). As demand for high-value fed aquaculture products grows, competition for these crops will also rise, as will the demand for wild fish as feed inputs. Many of these crops and forage fish are also consumed directly by humans and provide essential nutrition for low-income households. Their rising use in aquafeeds has the potential to increase price levels and volatility, worsening food insecurity among the most vulnerable populations. Although the diversification of global food production systems that includes aquaculture offers promise for enhanced resilience, such promise will not be realized if government policies fail to provide adequate incentives for resource efficiency, equity, and environmental protection.

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