Applying the Concept of Sustainable Consumption to Seafood: How Product Loss Through Post-Harvest Seafood Supply Chains Undermines Seafood Sustainability commitments
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To date, efforts towards seafood sustainability have almost exclusively focused on ‘improvement on the water’, wherein the focus is to make the production systems more eco-efficient. Significant achievements have been made using this approach, but the emphasis on creating sustainable seafood production systems has overshadowed other opportunities to advance seafood sustainability. In particular, there is growing evidence that losses of seafood products through the supply chain (either during processing, distribution, transport, retail, or at the consumer level) may have an important cumulative impact on the overall sustainability of seafood systems. This projects aims to better understand the degree of seafood loss in North American and European post-harvest seafood supply chains (PHSSC) based on interviews with 17 key informants and a meta-analysis of current literature. The data suggest that significant waste is occurring along PHSSCs and that, cumulatively, between 1.34 and 2.37 units of seafood need to be produced for every one unit of seafood consumed. Seafood losses were found to be greater and more variable for fresh seafood than for frozen seafood, and highest loss rates were recorded at the consumer level (25-40%) and at the retail level (1.63-12%). These nodes of the supply chain are priority points for future research and management considerations. A number of short- to medium-term management strategies are provided to begin addressing the issue of seafood loss and that aim to support a broader transition towards sustainable consumption practices within of seafood systems.