Thank you. I’m grateful to be here with you all today.
We know that climate change is already affecting food systems around the world, and it’s not just on land.
Climate change is changing aquatic systems, as we speak, with consequences for both fisheries and aquaculture.
This grave reality has implications for the contribution of fisheries and aquaculture to food security and nutrition worldwide.
The most climate-vulnerable regions around the world are also the most food-insecure – including many of the regions where fish and seafood are essential to food security and nutrition.
That means…if we want to realize a food-secure and climate-resilient future, we must talk about blue and aquatic foods.
Too often, fisheries and aquaculture are treated only as environmental or economic issues, and food security is framed only in terms of agriculture.
Yet we know the main reason people catch or farm seafood is self-evident in the name…because it’s food.
Blue foods are a vital source of nutrition, protein, and food security for billions of people.
Around the world, as many people rely on blue foods for their protein as rely on chicken.
Blue foods are an excellent source of micronutrients like calcium, iron, and zinc as well as other compounds that can address multiple forms of malnutrition and can improve health.
This is why the United States has been working to make this connection clear.
We highlighted the importance of blue foods in the new U.S. Government Global Food Security Strategy for 2022-2026.
We announced our support for the Aquatic/Blue Foods Coalition at the UN Ocean Conference this summer in Lisbon, underscoring our commitment to bringing blue foods to new audiences and partners.
And we’ve made sure that blue foods are front and center in cross-cutting initiatives under the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Feed the Future program.
In Senegal, for example, USAID is supporting fisheries management as part of a broader effort to improve food security and strengthen livelihoods.
When faced with intertwined issues, like food insecurity and climate change, we have to take a comprehensive and inclusive approach.
That is why we need to elevate the profile of blue foods. We need to include the theme in all conversations about food security and climate change, not just ocean ones.
When we do that, we can reach new audiences, find new partners, and tap into the full potential of blue foods.
Of course, we in this room all know that to realize blue foods’ full potential we must ensure that fisheries and aquaculture are sustainable.
And we know it is possible to build effective, science-based management of the resources themselves. But knowledge is not enough. We must act.
When we align our actions with our knowledge, we can arrive at a blue food transformation that secures livelihoods and ensures food security
I am excited to hear from others today about their ideas and experiences. I am confident we will find ways to work together while ensuring that our actions match our ambition.
It’s time to continue building a more climate-resilient, food secure world.