Session 2 – Food from the Ocean and Ocean Science for Sustainable Development – Bridging the UN Decades

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Starting in 2021, we are just at the beginning of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development 2021-2030, capturing several societal objectives including, a clean ocean, a healthy and resilient ocean, a predictable ocean, a safe ocean, a sustainably harvested and productive ocean and a transparent and accessible ocean. Furthermore we are halfway in the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition 2016-2025, being a commitment of the members of the United Nations to undertake 10 years of sustained and coherent implementation of policies, programs and increased investments to eliminate malnutrition in all its forms, everywhere and without leaving anyone behind. Food from the Arctic has great potential to contribute significantly to reach the objectives targeted in the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition 2016-2025 and the objectives of the UN decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development are key to ensure sustainable food production systems from the ocean in the future.

The ocean is unquestionable a pillar of life, as well as an under-recognized provider of nutritious food and livelihoods. This especially applies to the Arctic with its great potential to contribute to sustainable food production. Increased global availability and consumption of aquatic food may prevent hidden hunger, malnutrition and help combat non-communicable diseases and thereby help to establish food security. Aquatic foods are also very important contributors to the ongoing dietary proteins shift, where today an exchange of red meat in favor of green protein sources has been the dominating trend. The micronutrient profile and bioavailability of “blue” proteins is however far stronger than for many green alternatives, calling for a more diverse protein shift to avoid e.g. expansion of iron deficiency.

Thus, it is timely to start a discussion on how to increase the food production, including from the Arctic, to contribute to food security and nutrition, locally and globally, and at the same time preserving the integrity of the marine ecosystem. The food produced needs to be safe, nutritious, accessible and culturally acceptable. As food insecurity amongst Arctic populations is high, we also need to consider how harvesting in the Arctic can feed the Arctic people.

The potential of an increased seafood production may include, but not be limited, to the harvest and aquaculture of low-trophic organisms, better utilization of small pelagic species in food production, exploitation of new marine resources for either direct human consumption or to enhance the marine biomass in fish feed.

Future sustainable food production systems include feed and food from land and sea, and we also need to establish commonly accepted methods to assess the total footprint of the various products from the ocean.

This session will examine food from the Arctic and evaluate the potential for an increase in production and harvest. What are the main opportunities and challenges? How can the production of food from the ocean be increased/sustained whilst not interfering with ocean health? We invite authors to submit abstracts addressing one or several of the following topics or issues:

  • Overview of (sea)food production in the Arctic with emphasis on nutrients and contaminants and adaptation to climate change.
  • Exploitation of new resources. Nutritional value, food safety, accessibility, potential use and products, cultural/consumer acceptance
  • Evaluation of the bioaccesibility/bioavailability of nutrients from seafood: A novel approach to food production sustainability
  • Food security of Arctic Indigenous Peoples: Challenges and solutions
  • Challenges and possibilities of existing/evolving fisheries and aquaculture in the Arctic, including potential for integrated multi-trophic aquaculture and seaweed production
  • Exploitation of deep-sea organisms including the mesopelagic zone: Potential gains and consequences
  • Footprint assessment of (sea)food production in the Arctic

The session committee considers arranging a special issue or collection of articles in one of the thematic high-impact peer-reviewed journals (e.g., Food security) in conjunction with the session. It will be possible to indicate whether presenters are interested in contributing to the special issue during the abstract submission process. More information about the special issue will be available after the abstract submission deadline in September 2021.


Confirmed keynote speakers

Ray Hilborn | Professor, School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, University of Washington, USA


Session committee

Martin Wiech | PhD, Section for contaminants and biohazards, Institute of Marine Research, Bergen, Norway (Lead)

Karl-Erik Eilertsen | Associate Professor, Seafood Science Group, Norwegian College of Fishery Science, Faculty of Biosciences, Fisheries and Economics, UIT – The Arctic University of Norway,  Tromsø, Norway

Narcisa Bandarra | Head of Aquaculture, Upgrading and Bioprospecting Division, Portuguese Institute for the Sea and Atmosphere, I.P. IPMA, Lisboa, Portugal; & Team leader of Emergent biotechnologies and Seafood Processing, Interdisciplinary Center of Marine and Environmental Research (CIIMAR), Matosinhos, Portugal

Jónas R. Viðarsson | Director of Division of value creation, Matís ohf., Reykjavík, Iceland

Shirley Tagalik | Chairperson, Board of Directors, Aqqiumavvik Society, Arviat, Nunavut, Canada

Ingrid Undeland | Professor, Division of Food and Nutrition Science, Dept Biology and Biological Engineering, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden


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Alexey Pavlov Photo: Lars Olav Sparboe

Alexey Pavlov

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