A tidal wave of interest is building in farming the seas. It’s part of a global rush to exploit oceanic resources that’s been dubbed the “blue acceleration.” Optimistic projections say that smart mariculture – fish farming at sea – could increase ocean fish and shellfish production by 21 million to 44 million metric tons by 2050, a 36%-74% jump from current yields. Other estimates suggest that an ocean aquaculture area the size of Lake Michigan might produce the same amount of seafood as all of the world’s wild-caught fisheries combined.
Increasing the production of food from the ocean is seen as a pathway toward more sustainable and healthier human diets.
Guiding the sustainable development of sectors within the blue economy is critical not only to the global goal of thriving life under water (SDG 14), but also across many other goals related to resources, poverty, health, equity and wellbeing. This is especially the case for island and coastal states, where oceans support daily subsistence, livelihoods and economic opportunities, in the face of poverty and food and nutrition insecurity.