Friday, March 24, 2023 - 11:00 to 12:00

Speaker: Dr. Jessica Gephart, Assistant Professor in Environmental Science at American University.

Fish and other aquatic foods (blue food) present an opportunity for more sustainable diets due to its high nutrient content and low average environmental footprint. At the same time, seafood is among the most highly traded foods and is becoming increasingly globalized, with trade doubling in recent decades. The process of globalization comes with tradeoffs for sustainable food systems. On the one hand, trade can provide consumers with a greater diversity of foods, supply products at lower prices, and potentially produce products with lower environmental impacts by sourcing from regions better suited for production. On the other hand, trade can accelerate the nutrition transition to unhealthy diets, undermine domestic production by suppressing prices, and subject local environments to degradation associated with exports. However, our collective understanding of the environmental and human outcomes of seafood globalization is limited by a fundamental gap between production and trade data. We bridge this gap in the newly developed Aquatic Resource Trade in Species (ARTIS) database by providing the first global estimates of seafood species and nutrient trade flows from 1996–2020 and new estimates of aquatic food environmental footprints. This presentation will overview key findings from ARTIS, including new insights on drivers of seafood trade, patterns in species trade, and trends in reliance on foreign seafood. It will conclude with a discussion of implications for sustainable food systems.