Blue, or aquatic, foods – fish, shellfish, aquatic plants and algae captured or cultivated in freshwater and marine ecosystems – play a central role in food and nutrition security for billions of people; they are a cornerstone of the livelihoods, economies, and cultures of many coastal and inland communities.
Despite their unique value and interconnections with terrestrial food systems, aquatic foods are often left out of food system analyses, discussions, research, decisions, solutions and resource allocations. They are managed as a natural resource, and not as a critical component of strategies to deliver healthy, sustainable and equitable food systems.
Realizing the potential of blue foods to help end malnutrition and build nature-positive and resilient food systems is a critical element to meet the UNFSS vision to “launch bold new actions, solutions and strategies to deliver progress on [10 of the] 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), each of which relies on healthier, more sustainable and more equitable food systems”. Blue foods can make key contributions to diet-related health challenges – by reducing micronutrient deficiencies, improving heart, brain and eye health, and replacing consumption of less healthy red and processed meats – and be a part of the climate solution. Blue food transformation will not only increase the supply of nutritious food but also contribute to community resilience, good jobs, gender equity, and poverty alleviation. Thus, enhanced attention to this critical component of the planet’s food production and nutrition system will provide essential support to the mission of the Coalition of Action for Zero Hunger. A series of international agreements reflect widespread consensus on much of what needs to be done. The urgent need is to mobilize action to deliver on those commitments. That is the ambition of the Coalition for Aquatic/Blue Foods.
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