Omega-6/3 Fatty Acids

Part of the series Nutrition and Health pp 267-296


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

  • Simeon L. HillAffiliated withBritish Antarctic Survey, Natural Environment Research Council Email author 

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


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.

Key words

Antarctic krill Euphausia superba Soupfin shark Antarctic fur seal Black-browed albatross Whale Penguin Flagship species Docosahexaenoic acid Vitamin A Sustainable Environmentally responsible Marine Fisheries Rational use Exploitation Harvesting Conservation Conservation principles Sustainability Reference point Environmental responsibility Sustainability criteria Ecosystem Ecosystem services Fisheries management Ecosystem approach to fisheries Precautionary approach Precautionary catch limit Trigger level Uncertainty Risk Evidence Standards of evidence Trade-offs Governance Decision making Stakeholders Stakeholder engagement Cooperation Monitoring Continuous pumping system Patent Nutraceutical Aquaculture Funding Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Aker Biomarine High Seas Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) World Summit on Sustainable Development Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition (ASOC) Whole Foods