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Prof Daniela Schmidt contributes to major ‘Food from the Oceans’ report

Food from the oceans report (front page)

SAPEA Evidence Report 'Food from the Oceans'

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Professor Daniela Schmidt contributed to the report

1 December 2017

“How can more food and biomass be obtained from the oceans in a way that does not deprive future generations of their benefits?”

This question, originally posed by Commissioner Vella the Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries on behalf of the EC, is becoming increasingly pertinent both in Europe and around the world.

Current population and consumption trends suggest that total food demand is projected to increase by 60% by 2050. We are also likely to see a 70% increase in demand for protein in the same period. Unless we can manage this demand more effectively, we will need to produce much higher quantities of food, whilst maintaining quality and ensuring sustainability. This is no small challenge, and one that requires urgent review.

The oceans are could contribute significantly to this challenge. They account for “almost half of the planet's biological production, but a much smaller proportion of human food – about 2% of overall calorie intake and 15% of protein intake.”

However, there are potential implications for an increase in ocean food production – ecological, social, and political, that need to be considered, alongside the evidence that climate change is already impacting the resilience and productivity of the seas, and as such may limit food production potential.

In response, experts from around Europe were nominated by academies and learned societies to develop the first evidence review report delivered by the ‘Science Advice for Policy by European Academies’ (SAPEA).

Working with experts from across the natural sciences and arts/ humanities, Professor Daniela Schmidt (Professor of Paleobiology, Earth Sciences, and member of the Cabot Institute), was one of 18 authors and lead on the ‘uncertainties’ section.

Professor Schmidt notes:
“My research focuses on understanding biotic responses to climate change and ocean acidification. Integrated multi-trophic mariculture has a great potential to reduce the impact of ocean acidification locally and thereby support producers to maintain productivity in the ocean”.

This report pulls together novel responses to the challenge – from increasing the consumption of species we eat less often such as seaweed and algae rather than focussing on carnivores at higher trophic levels, to a suite of policy changes. It has been a pleasure to contribute to this timely and important document.”

The report was handed to the European Commission on the 30th November and will be used in the planning of the EU’s future political priorities and resource allocation. These include the preparation of the Commission’s post-2020 Multi-Annual Financial Framework (MFF), the successor to the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, and a range of other policy areas such as the implementation of the Blue Growth Strategy, Agenda 2030, ocean governance and development cooperation.

Further information

Access the Report:

Download the 'Scientific Opinion' report

View the news alert by the European Commission.

Download the SAPEA Evidence Review Report, which informed the scientific opinion. 

About Earth Sciences at the University of Bristol:

The school is recognised as one of the UK's most prominent centres for international research excellence and provides a dynamic, intellectually-stimulating environment. Our researchers are renowned as world-leaders in volcanology, isotope geochemistry, palaeobiology, experimental petrology and seismology.

About the University of Bristol Cabot Institute:

The Cabot Institute carries out fundamental and responsive research on risks and uncertainties in a changing environment. We drive new research in the interconnected areas of climate change, natural hazards, water and food security, low carbon energy, and future cities. Our research fuses rigorous statistical and numerical modelling with a deep understanding of social, environmental and engineered systems – past, present and future. We seek to engage wider society by listening to, exploring with, and challenging our stakeholders to develop a shared response to 21st Century challenges. Find out more about our work at

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