Date: 07 Nov 2012

Prospects for a Sustainable Increase in the Availability of Long Chain Omega 3s: Lessons from the Antarctic Krill Fishery

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The Global Summit on Nutrition, Health and Human Behaviour (GSNHHB) identified a target intake of long chain omega-3 (LC-omega-3) of around 1 g/day and therefore a need to “increase the availability of LC-omega-3 (especially DHA) for human consumption in a sustainable, environmentally responsible way” (1). Papers elsewhere in this volume make the case for increased consumption of LC-omega-3. The issue of a sustainable increase in availability also merits serious consideration. Marine fish are the main source of the two key LC-omega-3s for human consumption: docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) (2). Any increase in demand for of LC-omega-3 is likely to increase pressure on marine living resources. Historically, increases in demand for marine living resources have often resulted in the degradation of marine ecosystems’ ability to supply the relevant product. The GSNHHB’s commitment to sustainability and environmental responsibility indicates an intention to avoid exacerbating this situation, but it also presents a considerable challenge in terms of both defining and achieving sustainability.