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Volume 597 Issue 7876, 16 September 2021

Blue Food

The cover shows a woman from the TRY Oyster Women’s Association unloading oysters by the Gambia River. Aquatic foods such as fish, shellfish, and seaweed, collectively known as blue foods, show potential for reducing some adverse environmental effects of global food production. In this week’s issue, Jessica Gephart and her colleagues provide standardized estimates for a range of environmental pressures for diverse blue foods, representing about three-quarters of global production. The researchers looked at greenhouse-gas emissions, nitrogen and phosphorus pollution, and freshwater and land use. They found that farmed bivalves and seaweeds generate the lowest emissions and use the fewest land and water resources, and they identified many finfish options with low emission and resource use, both farmed and wild caught. The team also modelled ways to improve the environmental performance of blue foods, in some instances cutting emissions by half.

Cover image: Jason Florio/Redux/eyevine

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