Disentangling global market drivers for cephalopods to foster transformations towards sustainable seafood systems.

Published online
11 Aug 2023
Content type
Journal article
Journal title
People and Nature

Ainsworth, G. B. & Pita, P. & Rodrigues, J. G. & Pita, C. & Roumbedakis, K. & Fonseca, T. & Castelo, D. & Longo, C. & Power, A. M. & Pierce, G. J. & Villasante, S.
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Aquatic food systems are important contributors to global food security to satisfy an intensifying demand for protein-based diets, but global economic growth threatens marine systems. Cephalopod (octopus, squid and cuttlefish) fisheries can contribute to food security; however, their sustainable exploitation requires understanding connections between nature's contributions to people (NCP), food system policies and human wellbeing. Our global literature review methodology examined what is known about cephalopod food systems, value chains and supply chains, and associated market drivers. For analysis, we followed the IPBES conceptual framework to build a map of the links between cephalopod market drivers, NCP and good quality of life (GQL). Then we mapped cephalopod food system dynamics onto IPBES (in)direct drivers of change relating to catch, trade and consumption. This research contributes knowledge about key factors relating to cephalopods that can support transitions towards increased food security: the value of new aquatic food species; food safety and authenticity systems; place-based innovations and empowerment of communities; and consumer behaviour, lifestyle and motivations for better health and environmental sustainability along the food value chain. We outline requirements for a sustainable, equitable cephalopod food system policy landscape that values nature's contributions to people, considers UN Sustainable Development Goals and emphasises the role of seven overlapping IPBES (in)direct drivers of change: Economic, Governance, Sociocultural and Socio-psychological, Technological, Direct Exploitation, Natural Processes and Pollution. We present a novel market-based adaptation of the IPBES conceptual framework-our 'cephalopod food system framework', to represent how the cephalopod food system functions and how it can inform processes to improve sustainability and equity of the cephalopod food system. This synthesised knowledge provides the basis for diagnosing opportunities (e.g. high demand for products) and constraints (e.g. lack of data about how supply chain drivers link to cephalopod NCP) to be considered regarding the role of cephalopods in transformations towards a resilient and more diversified seafood production system. This social-ecological systems approach could apply to other wild harvest commodities with implications for diverse marine species and ecosystems and can inform those working to deliver marine and terrestrial food security while preserving biodiversity.

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