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Juvenile salmon in a hatchery in Russia. Photo: Yuri Smityuk\TASS via Getty Images

New research charts out how improvements in aquaculture and sustainable fishing could significantly increase food production from the sea by midcentury.

Why it matters: Global demand for food and particularly protein is projected to rise in step with human population growth. With little new land available to be sustainably opened for farming, our best bet may be the oceans — provided we can better manage that resource.

What's new: In a paper published Wednesday in Nature, researchers led by Christopher Costello of the University of California, Santa Barbara, argue that the right policies could increase annual global production of food from the sea by up to 44 million tonnes by 2050.

  • That would account for a quarter of the increase in all meat required to feed a projected 9.8 billion people by midcentury.

Background: Costello's projections may sound surprising, given years of reports that overfishing would essentially empty the oceans over the next several decades.

  • But he says that while seafood may indeed collapse if we "fail to implement sound mariculture policies," the world is trending toward improved fishery management. If those trends continue, we can both produce "substantially more food than today" and do so in a more sustainable fashion.

While right now most ocean seafood comes from wild-caught fisheries, Costello foresees a shift toward mariculture — fish farming at sea.

  • That will require diversifying the diet of farmed fish away from other fish species — which is contributing to overfishing — and toward sustainable sources like insects, algae and microbes.
  • Consumers will also need to diversify their taste preferences, meaning less salmon and tuna fillets and more oysters and mussels.

The bottom line: If the future means more steamed mussels with white wine and garlic, I'm all for it.

Go deeper

1 hour ago - World

Former spy Steele defends controversial Trump Russia dossier

Former U.K. intelligence officer Christopher Steele arrives at the High Court in London in July 2020. Photo: Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty Images

The author of the "Steele Dossier," containing unverified claims about former President Trump told ABC News he stands by his controversial report, according to excerpts from an upcoming documentary published Sunday.

Why it matters: Former U.K. intelligence officer Christopher Steele's dossier was used as part of former special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the Trump campaign's alleged links to Russia's government.

Ina Fried, author of Login
5 hours ago - Technology

Intel CEO sees making own chips as a matter of national security

Pat Gelsinger. Photo: Axios on HBO

Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger is putting the pressure on the U.S. government to help subsidize chip manufacturing, insisting the current reliance on plants in Taiwan and Korea as "geopolitically unstable."

Why it matters: There is bipartisan support for funding the domestic semiconductor industry, but Congress has yet to sign the check. The Senate has passed the CHIPS Act that includes $52 billion in semiconductor investment, but it has yet to pass the House.

Updated 5 hours ago - World

17 U.S. and Canadian missionaries kidnapped in Haiti

Haitian soldiers guard the public prosecutor's office in Port-au-Prince this month. Photo: Richard Pierrin/AFP via Getty Images

Children are among a group of 17 missionaries kidnapped in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, per a statement from Christian Aid Ministries Sunday.

The latest: "The group of 16 U.S citizens and one Canadian citizen includes five men, seven women, and five children," the Ohio-based group said. Haitian police inspector Frantz Champagne on Sunday identified the 400 Mawozo gang as the group responsible, in a statement to AP.