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Putting the Seafood in Sustainable Food Systems


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Increasing consumers' attention to the social and environmental dimensions of the food they eat has generated many different responses, including certification programs, watch lists and local/slow food movements.

This article examines the more recent entry of seafood into these consumer social movements. Although a concern with the family farm—as well as tendency to equate national security with food security—has long connected terrestrial food production with other cultural concerns, fisheries have tended to be regarded more as natural resources.

Considering seafood as part of the “food system” would enhance the management of fisheries, while the long engagement in fisheries with co- and adaptive management and the politics of knowledge would enrich the debate in the agri-foods literature. The article also offers suggestions on how fisheries management could better govern for sustainable food systems, and provides further ideas about food, sustainability and governance.

The article was written by Julia Olson, Patricia M. Clay, and Patricia Pinto da Silva. Published in Marine Policy, Volume 43, January 2014, Pages 104–111. Barton Seaver, Director of our Sustainable Seafood and Health Initiative, has worked closely with Patricia Pinto da Silva, and we include this article on our website to explain the concept of civic fisheries.

Aaron Bernstein, MD, MPH

Aaron Bernstein is the Interim Director of The Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment, a pediatrician at Boston Children’s Hospital, and an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics.

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