15 September 2022

T20 Policy Brief: Integrating Blue Foods Into Food System Policy And Practice

Blue food becomes one of the G20 discussion topics. Think20 (T-20), the G20 think-tank network, also recommends policy reforms that are currently hindering the transition from conventional food to blue food.

Blue foods – fish, shellfish, algae and plants, caught in fresh and marine waters – are extremely diverse, rich in protein and essential micronutrients that humans need. Blue foods offer a sustainable alternative to terrestrial animal-sourced foods.

Two-thirds of all blue food consumed by humans is produced by small-scale fisheries and aquaculture. More than 2,500 animal species or groups of species are caught and or harvested in freshwater and marine ecosystems.

Around 96 million tons of blue food is a capture fishery product and another 82 million tons is based on aquaculture. Half of this amount is contributed by small-scale fishermen.

To Blend Blue Food Sources

There are a number of reasons that could boost demand for blue food, which is predicted to grow almost double by 2050. Such growth is also driven by population growth and people’s incomes.

Avinash Kishore et al. in 2021 published a study entitled “Blue food demand across geographic and temporal scales”. If produced responsibly, say Kishore et al., blue food can bolster efforts to end malnutrition.

Blue food also has the potential to build food systems that are healthy, have a positive impact on nature and are resilient – contributing to progress on 9 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The extraordinary diversity of species accompanied by benefits that are no less special requires the government’s active role in order to develop blue food in a sustainable manner.

On the other hand, the government needs to review illegal fishing, both at sea and in freshwater aquaculture. Efforts are needed to restore fish supplies which continue to decline due to overfishing, Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing.

The review “could help governments better manage and develop [aquatic ecosystems],” wrote Hilborn et al. in research published by the World Bank in 2017.

Holding the G20 presidency in 2022, Indonesia has the opportunity to voice the importance of adaptive blue-based food blending for marine nations worldwide. One of the ways is through Think20 (T20), the G20 thinkers network.

T20 task force 4 “Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture” is entrusted with conducting an in-depth study which will later become policy recommendations for relevant G20 officials, one of which is blue food.

In T20 task force 4, the Indonesia Ocean Justice Initiative (IOJI) was represented by Chief Operating Officer Fadilla Octaviani and Gridanya Mega Laidha, who together with other think tank representatives mapped out five main challenges in the transformation towards blue food. 

Find the completed T20 report here


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