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  • 02 March, 2023

  • 7 Min Read

Blue Food

Blue Food

  • According to a recent study, blue food from aquatic habitats can aid in reducing nutritional deficiencies, creating jobs, and increasing export revenue in India.

About blue food:

  • It is widely acknowledged that food systems need to change Rs 250 million people may be on the verge of hunger as nearly 700 million people go hungry.
  • Conflict, economic slowdowns, and climate variability and extremes are some of the major factors that are contributing to an increase in food and nutrition insecurity.
  • In addition, food systems are a major contributor to the loss of biodiversity and account for 25% of all greenhouse gas emissions. Being involved in every aspect of how food systems operate is necessary to steer them in the direction of wholesome, sustainable, and just ones.
  • Aquatic creatures, plants, and algae that are caught or grown in freshwater and marine habitats are considered to be sources of blue food.
  • More than 800 million people, the majority of whom work in small-scale systems, depend on blue foods, which are animals, plants, and algae harvested from freshwater and marine environments.
  • Blue foods provide protein to over 3.2 billion people and are a major source of nutrients in many coastal, rural, and indigenous communities.
  • They are found to be more nutritious and have a larger potential for sustainability benefits than foods made from terrestrial animals.
  • Vital vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids are rich in a variety of blue food species.
  • It has been found that the main meat from aquaculture sources—tilapia, salmon, catfish, and carp—had a smaller environmental impact than meat from other sources.
  • There is also catch fishing involved. Capture fisheries relate to all forms of naturally occurring live resource gathering in freshwater and marine environments.
  • Tilapia, salmon, catfish, and carp are some of the varieties, along with seaweed, sea cucumber, and bivalves (mussels, oysters, etc.).

Importance of Blue Food:

  • Compared to foods generated from terrestrial animals, they are proven to be more nutrient-dense and to have a greater potential for sustainability benefits. Let's examine some of the key meanings of the blue foods.
  • Blue foods have the potential to increase national GDP and benefit indigenous communities in both the global north and the global south by enhancing their nutrition and quality of life.
  • Reduced burden on the Land: Aquaculture and marine farms now free up the space that previously needed for conventional agriculture to accommodate the growing population.
  • Food Security Achieved by Blue Food: Investing in innovation and improved fishing management may lead to more consumption and noticeably lower rates of malnutrition.
  • They can feed the masses by addressing both the Real Hunger and Hidden Hunger issues.
  • Low Emission and Tackle Deficiencies by Blue Food: In comparison to beef from the farm, they emit fewer emissions.
  • Overall, it was discovered that the primary species raised in aquaculture had less of an environmental impact than meat from other sources.
  • Aquatic meals can also be used to correct India's deficiencies in B12 and omega-3 fatty acids. Around 91% of countries with vitamin B12 deficiency also have widespread omega-3 insufficiency.
  • Blue Food May Decrease Cardiovascular Diseases: The promotion of blue foods over excessive red meat intake could alleviate health and environmental issues in almost 82% of the 22 countries with a high risk of cardiovascular disease.

Issues Associated with Blue Food:

  • Overfishing and other illegal fishing practices, as well as other unsustainable techniques of producing aquatic food, are to blame for the overexploitation of nearly 90% of all marine fish populations, according to the World Bank.
  • Acceptance of Blue Food: Sea cucumbers and related types still have a very low level of acceptance. It necessitates a change in dietary habits.
  • High-end technology and capital are required in this area, which is one of the main problems with blue food.
  • Absence of resources and skilled labour: It rarely requires expert labour.
  • Absence of adequate cuisine and dishes: Chefs and scientists must engage in more R&D efforts to create foods that the general public will enjoy.

Draft Blue Economy Policy:

  • The Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) has produced a draft Blue Economy policy and is looking for feedback from various stakeholders. It is in line with the "New India" vision for 2030 set forth by the Indian government.

Important Elements of the Policy:

  • The blue economy was listed as one of the 10 key areas for national growth.
  • It stresses policies in a number of important sectors in order to accomplish the overall growth of India's economy.
  • The following 7 thematic areas are acknowledged:
  • National accounting framework for ocean governance and the blue economy.
  • Tourism and coastal marine planning.
  • aquaculture, fish processing, and marine fisheries.
  • Creating things, developing new industries, trading, using technology, using services, and developing skills.
Way Forward
  • Governments, NGOs, and the corporate sector should work together to increase awareness of the benefits of blue foods and their capacity to solve malnutrition, poverty, and environmental degradation.
Promotion of Aquaculture:
  • Aquaculture can be a practical way to produce blue foods when done ethically and responsibly. By offering technical help, education, and incentives, governments can encourage the development of sustainable aquaculture techniques.
  • Small-scale fishers are highly diversified and play a significant role in the world's seafood industry. Small-scale fishers must therefore be supported if blue food systems are to be produced sustainably.

Source: Down To Earth

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