Re: The Role of Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture for Food Security and Nutrition - E-consultation to set the track of the study

Edel O. Elvevoll University of Tromsø, Norway

Global major health problem of life style is the development of obesity  and related diseases like coronary heart e.g.. A relationship between fish consumption and reduced mortality due to cardiovascular diseases has been shown. Curiously, in most studies the positive effect has been attributed to the intake of marine fatty acids alone, although lean and fatty fish have given the same protective effects in many studies. The presence and significance of additional beneficial components from seafood have attracted attention. My group (Food Science) is for instance occupied with research and teaching in the occurrence and function of LMW compounds in seafood. Amino acids (AA), vitamins, minerals and trace elements have of utmost importance among these. The AA composition in food is the major determinant of the protein nutritional quality of seafood. The effects of specific AA related to human health from seafood are also studied.  Our main task here is to study losses of LMW compounds when processing or while preparing a meal. It is known that the nutritional quality depends on the quantity as well as the availability of the molecules. Processing makes food safer, tastier and more shelf-stable. On the other hand, processing can be detrimental, affecting the nutritional quality of foods.  Possible biological active compounds may also be extracted from wastes of seafood.   These could be used as dietary supplements or ingredients in foods (functional food). Fish wastes have a huge unexploited potential for value adding. The goal is to increase their use in foods, functional foods and biochemical products for human consumption. This area of research is expected to become even more important in the future since the amount of fish meal and oil is limited and new sources of biomass for food and feed have to be found.

Microalgae are the primary producers of many of the healthy components of seafood, like marine fatty acids og  the 3 series and AA. New technologies for the harvest at lower tropic levels as well as techniques or technologies, genetic selection, breeding, manipulating growing conditions that enable and accelerates microalgae (algea, bacteria  and zooplankton) ability to produce biomass for foods using standard industrial fermentation are rapidly evolving and in the  future this may be a key for enhanced  seafood  production.

Artificial upwelling

From the Norwegian report that focusses more on the economic  potential of  the ocean ( Attached) In particular for chapter 6.

Demand for food

In 2012 the world population reached the 7 billion mark, and is expected to be in excess of 9 billion in 2050. Almost the entire increase in population is anticipated to take place in cities in developing countries, where the numbers of people living in slum conditions is rising rapidly8. In 2010 there were almost 1 billion people suffering from malnutrition and in many countries 30-40% of agricultural production was lost. In order to keep pace with population increases and economic growth, which in turn increase the demand for food, overall food production must rise by 70% by 2050. Food from agricultural sources will most probably not be able to meet this need. Shortages of fresh water and the effects of climate change will reduce food production capacity in many regions.

Norway is currently responsible for the management of extensive tracts of highly productive ocean, and a coastline ideal for aquaculture production. For this reason, we have an ethical obligation to increase our exploitation of these areas in order to produce food, or products which themselves can be exploited for food production. In addition to traditional seafood, new food products can be produced from lower trophic levels, provided that harvesting is carried out on a sustainable basis. It is now possible to manufacture feed for the aquaculture sector, and to cultivate organisms which capture phosphates which are rapidly becoming very scarce as a source of fertilizer for global food production. Harvesting from the marine food chain is currently carried out at very high trophic levels at which stages the majority of primary production has been lost There is major potential in the harvesting of resources at lower trophic levels.


Edel O. Elvevoll

Dean, Professor
Faculty of Biosciences, Fisheries and Economics (BFE)
University of Tromsø (UoT)
N-9037 Tromsø