Blue Foods: Seafood's role in a more sustainable and equitable food system

A fishing boat at sea under a hazy sky

Food sourced from the ocean, rivers and lakes—blue foods—hold enormous potential for transforming the global food system. Thousands of species of fish, shellfish and algae can play an essential role in achieving food security, tackling malnutrition and providing millions of livelihoods. Yet this diverse group is often overlooked in major policy discussions, especially when compared to food sourced from land. To close this gap, an interdisciplinary team known as the Blue Food Assessment(link is external) (BFA) is working to incorporate blue foods into global policy dialogues, starting with the UN Food Systems Summit(link is external) this September, and affect positive change across communities, companies and countries.

Launched in 2020, the BFA is a joint initiative of Stanford's Center for Ocean Solutions and Center on Food Security and the Environment, the Stockholm Resilience Center at Stockholm University(link is external) and EAT(link is external). The team will provide the most systematic assessment to date of how the extraordinary diversity of blue foods can offer vital nutritional benefits, vary in their environmental impact, and spur economies at local to global scales. By bringing new scientific insights to light and summarizing opportunities and challenges for policymakers, the BFA team aims to position blue foods as a critical tool in the shift toward more sustainable, healthy and equitable food systems.

In a recent Q&A, BFA co-chairs Rosamond Naylor and Beatrice Crona(link is external) shared their hopes for the BFA and discussed how the ocean provides life and livelihoods—this year’s World Oceans Day(link is external) theme—for many coastal communities, especially those that produce or consume blue foods. 

Read the Q&A here.