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Seafood plays crucial role in ensuring global food security. Aqua foods offer great game-changing solutions to help realise global food security. During a webinar of the recent UN Food Systems Summit Science Day, a side event hosted by WorldFish and FAO, many researchers in aquatic foods gave their view on how aquatic food systems can achieve the goals of the 2030 agenda. The goal is to nourish all people in a sustainable way.

The role of aquatic food is very important in the food systems transformation. Especially because  people are consuming aquatic food more than ever. This means that fish consumption has a large net contribution to food and nutritious security in the world.

Aquatic foods play an essential role in reducing hunger and poverty. The world population is growing to 10 billion people, and effective and sustainable food systems are these days more important than ever. There are several arguments why aquatic foods can play a role in this. One of them is that aquatic food has a much lower carbon impact than productions on land. In addition, the nutritional value of fish products beyond protein is also very significant, although this is not well-recognised in many food systems strategies.

FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Policy and Resources Division director Manuel Barange emphasised that the aquatic sector is fully recognising the contribution to fight poverty, hunger, malnutrition and commitment to sustainability. He pointed out that it is important to educate consumers and developing a vision where aquatic food is part of a solution and not just a part of the problem. He said that we need to promote the dialogue and collaboration between all stakeholders to enhance sustainability.

World Prize-awarded nutrition scientist Shakuntala Thilsted and FAO Food Security & Nutrition Specialist Molly Ahern spoke about the role of aquatic foods in sustainable healthy diets. They pointed out that current food systems fail to recognise the diversity of aqua foods and their potential for sustainable healthy diets. The nutritional value of fish have the potential to benefit during people’s lifetime. Eating fish causes significant benefits to cognitive development and reducing blood pressure and cholesterol.

Aqua foods such as small fish, including small pelagic fish such as herring and mackerel, are full of vitamins and minerals that are important for human health.

All the presentations of nourishing people and planet with aquatic foods can be viewed via the WorldFish YouTube channel