Primary objective: Explore the potential of marine aquaculture for sustainably intensifying global food production system.
Secondary objectives: 1) Consider the role of marine aquaculture in the coastal circular bioeconomy; 2) Map potential for nutrient, wastewater, and other material cycling in sustainable seafood production; 3) Highlight opportunities for co-producing biofuels and materials.
Food systems present critical challenges to achieving planetary stability.
The current food system produces up to 37% of total anthropogenic GHG emissions.
Meeting the 2050 food demand with present-day terrestrial agriculture would require between 1.5 and 7.3 million km2 of additional land, beyond the current 11 km2 of cropland. Today's agricultural system already poses acute threats to biodiversity and climate stability.
Without competing for arable land or freshwater, the large-scale industrial production of marine microalgae on land can improve climate, energy, food, and freshwater security. The coastal subtropical regions of the world are especially attractive.
Most wild fisheries are already fully or over exploited; there is little opportunity to increase protein production from them.
Marine aquaculture has expanded rapidly in recent years, especially with regard to finfish and shellfish. However, many practices are not sustainable and have resulted in an unfavorable environmental reputation.
With micro- and macro-algae as its foundation, the Marine Circular Bioeconomy can provide a new conceptual framework for marine aquaculture, one that can contribute significantly to human nutrition while improving environmental sustainability and protecting biodiversity
Climate, Energy and Food Security from the Sea
Ocean Resources and Ecosystems Program
Department of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences
4120 Snee Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY