Thank you. What an exciting way to begin the week!
I’m happy to be with all of you today, discussing an issue that is so important to the United States.
Too often, fisheries and aquaculture are treated as environmental or industry issues, and food security is framed only in terms of agriculture.
Yet we know the main reason people catch or farm seafood is right there in the name: because it’s food.
Blue foods are a vital source of nutrition, protein, and food security for billions of people. They are crucial components of sustainable development, poverty eradication, and climate-resilient food systems.
To tap into the full potential of blue foods, we must ensure that fisheries and aquaculture are sustainable. We need to build effective, science-based management of the resources themselves, and ensure that harvesting and farming activities are environmentally and socially responsible, well governed, and climate-resilient.
When we do that correctly, we can arrive at a blue food transformation that secures livelihoods, improves community resilience, ensures food security, and even addresses gender equity.
I know I am preaching to the choir about all of this right now, and that is why the United States is excited to announce its endorsement of the Aquatic/Blue Foods Coalition and its declaration.
Because together we can start growing the choir – by reaching out to new audiences and raising the profile of blue foods in all conversations about food security not just ocean ones.
The United States is already taking action. We highlighted the importance of blue foods in the new U.S. Government Global Food Security Strategy for 2022-2026.
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 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.
I am excited to hear from others today about their innovative ideas and experiences. I am confident we will find ways to work together as part of the Aquatic/Blue Food Coalition and we will bring blue foods to the forefront of our efforts to ensure food security around the world.