School of Earth, Environmental, and Marine Sciences Faculty Publications and Presentations

Document Type

Response or Comment

Publication Date



Wild fisheries provide billions of people with a key source of multiple essential nutrients. As fisheries plateau or decline, nourishing more people will partially rely on shifting consumption to farmed animals. The environmental implications of transitions among animal-sourced foods have been scrutinized, but their nutritional substitutability remains unclear. We compared concentrations of six essential dietary nutrients across >5000 species of wild fishes, aquaculture, poultry and livestock species, representing >65% of animals consumed globally. Wild fishes are both more nutrient-dense and variable than farmed animals; achieving recommended intake of all nutrients with farmed species could require consuming almost four times more biomass than with wild fish. The challenge of substituting farmed animals for wild fishes are magnified in fishery-dependent nations with high biodiversity and prevalence of malnutrition. Ultimately, the better ability of wild fishes to meet multiple nutrients simultaneously underscores the importance of drawing upon a diverse portfolio of animal- and plant-based foods as societies seek to offset changes in fisheries while achieving healthy and sustainable diets.


© 2023 The Author(s)

Original content from this work may be used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. Any further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the title of the work, journal citation and DOI.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Publication Title

Environmental Research Letters





To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.