Anthropogenic climate change is one of the greatest threats to humans and the environment. While considerable attention has been given to how climate change will impact wild fisheries and agriculture, there is a dearth of understanding about the consequences for aquaculture. Now that aquaculture accounts for over half of all seafood production and continues to be the fasting growing food sector on the planet, bridging the scientific gap of aquaculture and climate change is critical.
Our research begins to address how climate change may alter the suitability and productivity of marine aquaculture in the future, and the policy and social adaptive capacity under such changes. We're also investigating connections between climate change and greater Food Systems impacts, with an emphasis on aquaculture.
Cumulative change in marine finfish aquaculture potential under climate change. See our new publication in Nature Ecology & Evolution for details.
Blue growth potential to mitigate climate change through seaweed offsetting Synthesizing data from scientific literature, we assess the extent and cost of scaling seaweed aquaculture to provide sufficient CO 2eq sequestration for several climate change mitigation scenarios, with a focus on the food sector—a major source of greenhouse gases. At a much larger scale, we find seaweed culturing extremely unlikely to offset global agriculture, in part due to production growth and cost constraints. Yet offsetting agriculture appears more feasible at a regional level, especially areas with strong climate policy, such as California. Importantly, seaweed farming can provide other benefits to coastlines affected by eutrophic, hypoxic, and/or acidic conditions creating opportunities for seaweed farming to act as “charismatic carbon” that serves multiple purposes. Seaweed offsetting is not the sole solution to climate change, but it provides an invaluable new tool for a more sustainable future.