The world’s population is on track to reach 9 billion by 2050, and demand for food is growing. Some estimate that demands for animal protein may grow as much as 80 percent.

Can such demands even be met? And much less, sustainably? Recently, researchers gathered at UC Santa Barbara to explore those questions. Shelly Leachman from UCSB reports:

“That’s a whopping amount of additional food to be produced, and the path that we take to meeting this demand really matters,” said Steven Gaines, dean of UCSB’s Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, during the first-ever Food from the Sea Summit. “Trying to produce that much food from land creates a big set of problems in terms of environmental impacts.

How to fix overexploited fisheries and take advantage of the potential of aquaculture were also key topics at the summit.


Speaking about fisheries reform and the potential global benefits — in food production, economics and conservation — of recovering wild fisheries, UCSB’s Christopher Costello was optimistic about what progress can be made.

“This is one of these rare environmental challenges where the triple bottom line really is possible,” said Costello, a professor of environmental and resource economics at the Bren School and co-founder, with Gaines, of UCSB’s Sustainable Fisheries Group. “There is almost always some tradeoff between the economy and the environment but that’s not really true in fisheries. They’re pretty well aligned and I think that makes for a pretty compelling story. And I think it also suggests we ought to do something.”

Through the Global Food Initiative, UC is harnessing the institution’s resources to address one of the most important questions of our time: how to sustainably and nutritiously feed a growing world population. Learn more here.