Oceans serve as the world’s largest source of protein, with more than 3 billion people relying on them oceans as their primary source (UN SDG 14, 2016).
With an increasing human population, new space for food production and innovative methods will be required to meet demands. Farming fish, shellfish and aquatic plants is one of the world’s fastest-growing food sectors. In 2014, for the first time, aquacultured seafood for our consumption exceeded wild-caught fish. The ocean has a huge potential to yield food for human consumption but this must be harnessed in a responsible, sustainable manner. We know, too, that at the same time, wild fish stocks are declining and the ocean itself is experiencing much change (ocean acidification, climate change and extreme weather), all of which have the potential to affect food production.
For the first time, AORA’s researchers are conducting climate vulnerability assessments on wild and farmed fish and the human communities that depend on them. Our research teams are finding smarter ways to sustainably catch and grow what future generations will need so that together we can help feed the world.
Together, we are trying to understand our changing ocean to build a sustainable ocean future, ensure sustainable use of marine resources, and sustainably manage our oceans.
Some achievements to date:
- Researchers have made projections on the impacts of climate change on marine ecosystems, wild, captured and cultured fisheries, and fishery-dependent communities as part of CERES and CLIMEFish
- Regionally relevant short, medium, and long-term future, high-resolution projections of key environmental variables for European marine and freshwater ecosystems have been shared and compared with Canada and the United States of America for the Northeast Atlantic, Norwegian/Barents Seas, Baltic and Mediterranean Seas.
- AORA has brought together researchers and institutes from both sides of the North Atlantic to understand our changing ocean and build a sustainable ocean future. This future will focus on the sustainable use of marine resources and management of fisheries, utilising novel techniques to reduce bycatch and discards, and to develop early warning systems and disease management models.
The challenge to find better ways to tap the vast food-producing potential of the Atlantic is too great for any one nation to tackle alone. Together, we are building an Atlantic community of researchers, policymakers, businesses and citizens.
The Atlantic Community across and along the Atlantic Ocean is twinning research projects to foster and share information and findings, and inviting others to join them at meetings, technical workshops and planning sessions.
Under AORA, researchers are now collaborating on projects such as:
- PrimeFish, the overall objective of which is to enhance the economic sustainability and competitiveness of fisheries and aquaculture sectors. The project is studying and analysing the seafood market in general, and five specific seafood supply chains in particular: cod, herring, trout, seabass, seabream, salmon, and pangasius.
- VIVALDI aims to increase the sustainability and competitiveness of the shellfish industry.
- CERES advances a cause-and-effect understanding of how climate change will influence fish and shellfish resources and the economic activities depending on them. It is providing tools and developing adaptive strategies that will allow fisheries and aquaculture sectors and their governance to prepare for adverse changes and/or future benefits of climate change.
- SUCCESS brings together an integrated team of scientists from all fields of fisheries and aquaculture science, with industry partners and key stakeholders. Together, they work on solutions for the improvement of the competitiveness of the fisheries and aquaculture sector.
- Carbon dioxide is being absorbed by the ocean and acidifying it, adversely affecting the food chain. GENIALG is utilising marine algae to build blue belts for carbon and nitrogen capture, storage and sustainable aquaculture, thereby actively responding to socially, politically, and environmentally significant issues.
- There are increasing demands on ocean resources as well as increasing pressure on the use of ocean space. Challenges may arise from tensions between maritime activities (e.g. tourism, energy, fisheries) demanding marine space. MUSES builds on existing knowledge to explore the real opportunities for multiple uses of ocean space and practical solutions for how to overcome existing barriers and minimise risks associated with multi-use development.