NCEAS Project 12321

Envisioning a sustainable global seafood market and restored marine ecosystems

  • Larry B. Crowder
  • Martin D. Smith

ActivityDatesFurther Information
Working Group11th—13th March 2009Participant List  
Working Group16th—20th September 2009Participant List  
Working Group4th—6th January 2010Participant List  
Working Group2nd—5th November 2010Participant List  
Working Group29th—31st August 2011Participant List  

Ecologists, conservationists, and economists agree that many of the world’s wild-capture fisheries are overfished, overcapitalized, and continue to decline. At the same time, global demand for fish protein is growing rapidly. Aquaculture provides an increasing share of the world’s edible fish protein, but there are potentially adverse environmental effects of large-scale aquaculture production. Wild-capture fisheries and aquaculture together comprise the global seafood market. Though the deleterious impacts of fisheries and aquaculture on marine ecosystems have been widely studied, few studies have focused on the mechanisms by which the global seafood trade contributes to declines in marine ecosystems and how this trade might be altered to support restoration of marine ecosystems. Also, scientists from different disciplines mainly study the constituent parts of seafood production in isolation without an overarching vision of what an ecologically and economically sustainable seafood system would look like. This is the void in scholarship we seek to fill with a team of marine ecologists, conservation practitioners, natural resource economists, and an anthropologist. We seek to explore three overarching questions: 1) Can we envision a global seafood system that is sustainable and does not degrade marine ecosystems? 2) Are there features of the global seafood trade that, if enhanced, could facilitate bottom-up sustainability of individual fisheries and aquaculture operations? 3) Are there top-down policy instruments or international agreements that would nudge the global seafood trade towards more sustainable practices? This study is timely and of vital importance, and we believe we have assembled an ideal team to carry it out. By linking knowledge about how the global seafood trade works with knowledge about the ecological impacts of fisheries and aquaculture operations, we will identify the pressure points to shift the global seafood trade away from harming marine ecosystems and towards a sustainable seafood system.

TypeProducts of NCEAS Research
Journal Article Klinger, Dane; Turnipseed, Mary; Anderson, James; Asche, Frank; Crowder, Larry B.; Guttormsen, Atle; Halpern, Benjamin S.; O'Connor, Mary I.; Sagarin, Raphael; Selkoe, Kimberly A.; Shester, Geoffrey G.; Smith, Martin D.; Tyedmers, Peter. 2012. Moving beyond the fished or farmed dichotomy. Marine Policy. (Online version)
Journal Article Smith, Martin D.; Roheim, Cathy; Crowder, Larry B.; Halpern, Benjamin S.; Turnipseed, Mary; Anderson, James; Asche, Frank; Bourillon, Luis; Guttormsen, Atle; Khan, Ahmed; Liguori, Lisa; McNevin, Aaron; O'Connor, Mary I.; Squires, Dale; Tyedmers, Peter; Brownstein, Carrie; Carden, Kristin; Klinger, Dane; Sagarin, Raphael; Selkoe, Kimberly A. 2010. Sustainability and global seafood. Science. Vol: 327. AAAS. Pages 784-786.