London - The ocean could provide over six times more food than it does now with better management and more technological innovation, scientists said on Tuesday, adding that boosting cultivation of bivalves like mussels and clams could be especially beneficial.
They estimated the oceans could provide more than two thirds of the animal protein that UN food experts predict will be needed to feed the world in future. Fish currently accounts for about a fifth of animal protein consumed by humans.
Cultivating food from the ocean generally has a lower impact on the climate than land-based agriculture, and is not limited by the same land and water constraints, the scientists said.
Food from the seas is also highly nutritious, containing essential vitamins, minerals and fatty acids, they said in a report to be released at a symposium on fisheries hosted by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation in Rome on Tuesday.
"The ocean has great, untapped potential to help feed the world in the coming decades, and this resource can be realised with a lower environmental footprint than many other food sources," said lead author Christopher Costello.