Blue Food Assessment 2021

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    • Most aquaculture systems have not achieved the levels of efficiency seen in terrestrial food production systems as per a report titled “Environmental performance of blue foods”.
      • The report is a part of the Blue Food Assessment (BFA).
      • The BFA is a collaboration between 
        • Sweden-based Stockholm Resilience Centre, 
        • United States-based Stanford University and 
        • the non-profit EAT.

    What is Blue Food?

    • They are food derived from aquatic or marine animals, plants or algae that are caught or cultivated in freshwater and marine environments.
    • Examples
      • Seaweeds, Sea Cucumber
      • Bivalves (mussels, oysters, etc.)
      • Fishes like tilapia, salmon, catfish and carp, etc.
    • It also involves Capture Fisheries.
      • Capture fisheries refers to all kinds of harvesting of naturally occurring living resources in both marine and freshwater environments.

    Benefits of Blue Food

    • High Nutritional Benefits
      • They have higher nutritional benefits in comparison to terrestrial food.
      • Many blue food species are rich in important nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals.
    • Ecological benefits and environmental footprints
      • They are more sustainable as they release less greenhouse gasses.
      • On average, the major species produced in aquaculture were found to have lower environmental footprints comparable to terrestrial meat.
    • Less pressure on Land
      • The aquaculture and marine farms free the space which was needed for feeding the growing population by conventional agriculture. 
    • Food Security
      • Investing in innovation and improving fisheries management could increase consumption even more and have profound effects on malnutrition.
      • They can feed the masses by solving both the problem of
        • Real Hunger
        • Hidden Hunger
    • Fulfilling SDG commitment
      • Promotion of Blue food will help in fulfillment of many Sustainable development Goals. E.g.
        • SDG 2: Nutrition 
        • SDG 14: Sustainable use of marine resources

    Challenges to Blue Food

    • Acceptance to Blue Food
      • The acceptance of the sea cucumber and similar variants is still very less.
      • It needs a behavioural change in dietary habits.
    • Technology and Capital Intensive sector
      • One of the major challenges with blue food is the need for high end technology and capital.
    • Lack of skilled labour and resources
      • It needs rare skilled labour.
    • Lack of proper cuisine and dishes
      • More R&D activities are required by chefs and scientists to make dishes loved by the masses.
    • Danger of invasive species
      • There may be a threat of invasive species in case of imports for culturing in a country.

    Conclusion

    • Blue Food is the future
      • The report acknowledged the vital role to be played by Blue foods in the shift towards healthy, equitable and sustainable food systems.
      • These have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through improved management and optimising gear types.
    • The Blue Economy Policy is working toward mainstreaming such food and should be promoted.

    Few schemes related to Blue Food

    Draft Blue Economy Policy:

    • The Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) has rolled out the draft Blue Economy policy, inviting suggestions and inputs from various stakeholders.
      • It is in line with the Government of India’s Vision of New India by 2030.
    • Key Highlights of the Policy
      • It categorised the blue economy as one of the 10 core dimensions for national growth.
      • It emphasizes policies across several key sectors to achieve holistic growth of India’s economy. 
      • It recognizes the following 7 thematic areas:
        • National accounting framework for the blue economy and ocean governance.
        • Coastal marine spatial planning and tourism.
        • Marine fisheries, aquaculture, and fish processing.
        • Manufacturing, emerging industries, trade, technology, services, and skill development.
        • Logistics, infrastructure and shipping, including trans-shipments.
        • Coastal and deep-sea mining and offshore energy.
        • Security, strategic dimensions, and international engagement.

    Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana:

    • Nodal Ministry/ Department: Department of Fisheries
    • Tenure: 2020-2025
    • Intended Beneficiaries are
      • Fishermen, fish farmers, fish workers and fish vendors
      • Fisheries Development corporations
      • Self Help Groups (SHGs)/Joint Liability Groups (JLGs) in the fisheries sector
      • Fisheries cooperatives and federations
      • Entrepreneurs and private firms
      • Fish Farmers Producer Organisations/Companies (FFPOs/Cs)
      • SCs/STs/Women/Differently abled persons

    Source: DTE