Sustainable consumption: The first ever global seafood consumption footprint

Sustainable consumption: The first ever global seafood consumption footprint

The Joint Research Centre of the European Commission has published the first ever global seafood consumption footprint. The aim is to inform decisions on achieving sustainable consumption.

The Joint Research Centre (JRC) has published the global seafood consumption footprint to assess the impact of the increased seafood demand on sustainable consumption.

The JRC has published statistics on the increased seafood demand. They found that:

  • Global seafood consumption has increased by more than 50% in the past 50 years
  • The increased consumption has put impacted the sustainability of fishing
  • Net importing nations should consider the sustainability of their trading partners’ fishing practices, as well as their domestic ones
  • There should be international collaboration on long-term sustainable consumption and seafood production

How is the footprint is measured?

In a paper titled “Global seafood consumption footprint”, the JRC’s researchers said: ‘To ensure food security and nutritional quality for a growing world population in the face of climate change, stagnant capture fisheries production, increasing aquaculture production and competition for natural resources, countries must be accountable for what they consume rather than what they produce.’ This is the first ever footprint based on seafood consumption rather than production. The JRC has measured the footprint by sector to quantify each country and trade’s dependency on capture fisheries and aquaculture through fishmeal production.

What is our global seafood consumption footprint?

The JRC’s calculations of the global seafood consumption footprint showed that:

  • Global seafood demand for human consumption is 143.8 million tonnes per year;
  • The overall footprint, including other uses of seafood, is 154 million tonnes; and
  • China has by far the largest seafood consumption footprint, followed by the European Union.

Sustainable consumption

The JRC’S findings can give policy-makers and consumers information on the depence on producer nations for seafood supplies. Therefore, this can support the ability to assess whether seafood sources meet the desired standards for sustainable consumption.

Consequently, the findings can encourage international collaboration on policies for long-term sustainable consumption and sustainable fishing.

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