PRESS RELEASE, Thursday 30 November 2017#

SAPEA provides evidence for the European Commission on Food from the Oceans#

SAPEA (Science Advice for Policy by European Academies) has published its first Evidence Review Report titled Food from the Oceans, which examines the question of how the ocean can help satisfy the global demand for food.

Sir Paul Nurse, Elvira Fortunato, Janusz Bujnicki, Pearl Dykstra, Carina Keskitalo, Rolf-Dieter Heuer
As an integral part of the Scientific Advice Mechanism (SAM), SAPEA was asked to produce this Evidence Review Report to underpin the Scientific Opinion of the High Level Group (HLG), in response to a request from Commissioner Vella (DG MARE). The request asked for advice on the question: “How can more food and biomass be obtained from the oceans in a way that does not deprive future generations of their benefits?

The Evidence Review Report warns that in our extraction of food from the oceans, ‘business as usual’ is not sustainable from social, economic and environmental viewpoints. The report suggests a number of options, which inform the recommendations of the HLG Scientific Opinion. It states that the only way to obtain significantly more food and biomass sustainably from the ocean is to harvest seafood that on average is from a lower trophic level (lower in the food chain) than we currently harvest.

To produce Food from the Oceans, SAPEA worked with academies across Europe and the European Academy Networks to bring together experts in a range of disciplines. The experts formed working groups which were chaired by Professor Poul Holm (Trinity College Dublin) and Professor Dag Aksnes (University of Bergen). Academia Europaea led on this topic.

Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said:

"This substantive opinion and comprehensive evidence review shows that the Commission's Scientific Advice Mechanism is going from strength to strength. I am confident that the value of this opinion will be recognised not just by European policy makers, but also by national governments and all those who care about the future of our oceans.”

Professor Günter Stock, 2017 Chair of the SAPEA board said:

“Interdisciplinarity and world class expertise from across Europe are SAPEA’s core strengths, and this report has successfully incorporated these under the leadership of Academia Europaea. I look forward to SAPEA’s future collaborations with the SAM High Level Group, ensuring that scientific advice is informed by expertise from academies across Europe.”

Professor Sierd Cloetingh, President of Academia Europaea said:

“In Food from the Oceans, we believe we have established an attractive model for future SAPEA projects. I would like to thank the academies across Europe and their experts who have contributed their valuable knowledge to this report. I express my gratitude to everyone involved in making Food from the Oceans a success, ensuring that the Evidence Review Report was delivered on time and to an excellent standard.”

Members of the High-Level Group, SAPEA and European Commissioners Moedas and Vela including Academia Europaea President Sierd Cloetingh, at the handover of the Scientific Opinion and Evidence Review Report



SAPEA Food from the Oceans report(info)
SAM Food from the Oceans, High Level Group of Scientific Advisors Scientific Opinion No. 3/2017(info)

The SAPEA evidence review report is available at:
The SAM High Level Group Opinion is available at:

  • Coverage of the Food from the Oceans report in Science Business (30 November 2017)

The SAPEA project is part of the European Scientific Advice Mechanism and has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 737432.
The text in this press release reflects only the author’s view. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.
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