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Bringing aquatic foods into UK food systems debates Workshop Report

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posted on 2024-05-17, 14:23 authored by Christian ReynoldsChristian Reynolds, Giulia Nicolini, Jack Clarke

On March 7th 2024, The Marine Conservation Society, the International Institute for Environment & Development (IIED), and the Centre for Food Policy, City, University of London convened a workshop on ‘bringing aquatic foods into UK food systems debates’.

This document provides a detailed account of the discussions, and presents the outputs of the activities. Finally, it also provides some suggestions for next steps.

The aims of the workshop were to:

1. Identify policy-relevant research gaps preventing blue foods from being included in work on the UK food system transition.

2. Highlight areas and opportunities for collaboration.

3. Scope interest in creating a UK network to share insights, secure research funding and advocate for aquatic foods in the food policy landscape.

The half-day workshop brought together 23 people from 17 organisations. Workshop attendees came from a mix of backgrounds, including academia, non-governmental organisations and campaigning organisations, donor organisations and funding bodies, and independent consultants. A list of participant organisations is provided at the end of the report. The workshop was run under Chatham House rules.

The workshop aimed to build on existing work at the international level, including by colleagues based in the UK, to bring greater attention to the contribution of aquatic foods to food system outcomes, and to advocate for their inclusion in food systems decision-making. We aim to build on work by the ‘Blue Food Assessment’, a global coalition of scientists and experts who have conducted original research into the production, consumption and trade of aquatic foods, including their nutrient composition and environmental performance.

The workshop addressed two high-level questions through three facilitated sessions:

• What are the barriers to integrating aquatic foods in debates about UK food systems?

• What research gaps need to be addressed to bring aquatic foods into these debates?

Below, we summarise the discussions in each of the three moderated sessions. Finally, in Section 5, ‘Next Steps,’ we suggest 3 initiatives to take forward through collaboration.

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