Impact of shocks on the global seafood trade network

Graduate Degree Program in Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, USA

Jessica Gephart

Jessica Gephart

The growth of the human population, increasing per capita consumption of animal proteins, and the effects of climate change on food supplies challenge the ability to meet future human food demands. Global trade is often seen as an option for countries to meet local food demands and overcome detrimental regional effects of environmental impacts on food supply. Until now, however, these discussions have largely focused on agricultural products. Seafood, despite being the most highly traded food commodity and an important source of animal protein in developing countries, has only rarely been considered.

This project aims to contribute a seafood perspective on global trade and food security. First, the spatial and temporal structure of seafood trade networks will be characterized and compared with trade networks for capture fisheries and aquaculture. Second, network dynamics characterizing changes in seafood trade flows will be defined. Third, the resilience of seafood trade networks will be investigated from two angles: i) by studying how negative local impacts such as the collapse of a regional fishery cause contagious effects that spread through the trade network; and ii) by examining how changes in trade policies may reshape seafood trade flows and affect the network’s resilience. These analyses are expected to reveal which countries are most vulnerable to environmental impacts on the seafood trade network and identify conditions under which environmental impacts that initially are regionally confined cause knock-on effects that propagate throughout the seafood trade network.

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Last edited: 24 March 2016

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