Exploring the Alignment of Human Health and Environmental Health in Canadian Fish and Seafood Policy
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Many people around the world rely on fish and seafood as a source of protein, fatty acids and micronutrients, but nearly a third of global fish stocks are overfished, and overfishing remains a sustainability concern. Furthermore, the global population continues to increase, and human health recommendations suggest that fish and seafood consumption is important to health. With many people already relying on fisheries to provide important nutrients, and a likely increase in fish and seafood demand in the future, it is important to ask: In what ways can seafood sustainability support human health needs? Focusing on Canada, we can begin to assess how human health and environmental health recommendations for fish and seafood intake align, and where there are opportunities for alignment of these guidelines. This question is timely given that Canada recently launched an updated Food Guide and new national food policy, boasting environmental considerations. In this research project a problem-oriented approach is used to explore the alignment of four areas of interest regarding fish and seafood consumption: human health recommendations, environmental health considerations, provenance of Canada’s seafood supply, and affordability of fish and seafood. Results demonstrate little alignment between all four areas of interest; however, species commonly satisfy one or two criteria. Clams are the only group of species that satisfies all criteria. Recommendations include ensuring the availability of species level information in food labelling and in fisheries management, adapting health recommendations to emerging health concerns regarding seafood, and considering the sustainability of species listed in health recommendations. Keywords: seafood; sustainability; nutrition; health; public health; food security; food sovereignty; food systems; fisheries; public policy; policy.