Europe, the Ocean and Feeding the World
At the rate that the world population is growing, more and healthy food will be need by 2050. Agriculture will be called to contribute eventually more than today. However, a shift in the paradigm of feeding is needed. The Oceans are expect to contribute in these efforts. Concomitantly, science, innovation, management of behaviour and consumption changes – notably with regard to waste-reduction and more ecologically efficient production and distribution – will have a role to play in this regard. However, arguably the single biggest opportunity to meet the growing food challenge is through an increase in the role played by the ocean as a milieu for responsible, healthy and sustainable food production. In fact, while the ocean accounts for 50% of biomass production on the planet, it only accounts for a small fraction of food (globally 2% calories or 15% protein). Therefore, in theory, there is a potential to redress the balance and alleviate some of the enormous pressure on land-based resources. Furthermore, this makes sense in terms of minimising the impact of food production on the biosphere since the ecological efficiency of biomass production in an aquatic milieu is higher than on land. The challenge to do this while at the same time ensuring recovery of the health of the global ocean should be relevant and taken in account.
This event will discuss this issue and more particularly what part Europe can play. With a combined exclusive economic zone of 20 million km2 and a coastline, which is, seven times, as long as the US's and four times that of Russia, the EU has a unique and disproportionately high level responsibility and interest in this opportunity.