SLU news

Aquatic foods are superfoods for people and for our planet

Published: 23 June 2022
Family preparing meal of rice and fish

SLU Global, SLU Aqua and SLU Aquaculture hosted a successful webinar about sustainable production and harvesting of fish, invertebrates and algae captured or cultured in freshwater or marine ecosystems for food or feed. The webinar gathered experts from SLU, WorldFish, CGIAR, international stakeholders and organisations to discuss sustainable aquatic food solutions for the future.

How can we manage aquatic food production and harvesting to secure sustainable access to high micronutrient foods?

Aquatic foods are high in micronutrients, providing foods for 3.3 billion people and supporting the livelihoods of over 120 million people. Access to food and income for low-income consumers and small-scale fishers and practitioners is threatened by inadequate management and competing demands for aquatic foods, leading to overharvesting and marginalisation of traditional and indigenous fishers. For aquaculture, one of the main issues to solve is the access to sustainable and low-cost feed for farmed fish.

This webinar brought together scientists, policy specialists, extension experts, fisheries and aquaculture representatives to explore ways of sustainable harvesting and production of aquatic foods. 

“When we talk about using aquatic foods for nourishing people and the planet, we are really talking about changing the narrative from feeding to nourishing, and ensuring that the foods we work on are diverse foods that form part of the diet on the plate.” Shakuntala Haraksingh Thilsted, 2021 World Food Prize Laureate

Take-aways from the webinar: 

  • The diversity of aquatic foods should be recognised – aquatic foods consists of a multitude of animals, plants and microorganisms with high nutrient content that are farmed or harvested from water, and our perception, acceptance and consumption of the variety of aquatic foods needs to be diversified.

  • Aquatic foods are superfoods for people and for our planet – managed the right way aquatic foods contribute to nutrition, socio-economic, and environmental benefits.

  • Capture fisheries and aquaculture are interlinked in resource systems dependence – alternative feeds in aquaculture prevent competition with aquatic food for human consumption.

  • Partnerships and stakeholder collaboration are keys to success – the bottom-up approach achieves consensus and equips communities to own the interventions to protect, restore and better manage fisheries and aquaculture resources.

Securing sustainable access to aquatic foods – a synthesis report

As an outcome of the webinar, SLU Aqua has produced a synthesis report on the subject, together with SLU Aquculture, SLU Global and WorldFish. The report, Securing sustainable access to aquatic foods, highlights the importance of aquatic foods as a source of protein, micronutrients and income, its potential to meet increasing food demands, as well as the challenges in aquatic food production and harvesting. It also provides an overview of management initiatives and innovative solutions for secured sustainable access to aquatic foods in the future.

Read the news article about the report: Aquatic foods crucial for sustainable, nutritious and equitable food.


Dr. Shakuntala Haraksingh Thilsted, Research Program Leader for Value Chains and Nutrition at WorldFish. 2021 World Food Prize Laureate.

Dr. Gladys Okemwa, Senior Research Scientist at the Kenyan Marine and Fisheries Research Institute. 

Dr. Francis Mmanda, Lecturer at the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. (LinkedIn

Dr. Örjan Östman, Senior Lecturer at the Department of Aquatic Resources, SLU, Sweden. 

Panel participants

  • Max Troell, Associate Professor at the Beijer Institute.   
  • Matern Mtolera, Senior Lecturer at the University of Dar es Salaam.
  • Hampus Eriksson, Senior Scientist at WorldFish.
  • Sebastian Mathew, Executive Director, International Collective in Support of Fishworkers (ICSF)

Logotype for International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture 2022