Arctic Frontiers Science

Theme 1: Arctic Food Security

Climate changes in the Arctic have complex ecosystem impacts on human food security and health, both locally and globally. It is important to trace these impacts from their sources in Arctic lands and waters throughout the food web, taking both climate-related policy and human-environment interactions into consideration to know how these changes affect food security, nutrition and health.

People living in Arctic regions rely on both wild-caught and cultivated marine and terrestrial resources for their subsistence and livelihoods. This theme brings together scholars from circumpolar regions whose work examines the impacts of marine and other food sources on the food security and health of people living in Arctic communities and across the globe. As many communities face climate- and socially-mediated constraints on their capacity for self-sufficiency, innovative and resourceful approaches – many of them rooted in Indigenous identity and knowledge – are emerging to solve the crisis of food insecurity.

Emerging Arctic aquaculture initiatives are also contributing to global efforts to improve food security. To meet future demand for fish, particularly in developing countries, global production will need to double by 2030. The scale of this challenge requires research innovations across the whole spectrum of fisheries production and its value chain ( There is significant potential for empowerment of circumpolar Indigenous communities as Arctic food sources are increasingly recognized as contributors to global food security and improved nutrition, in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Decade of Action on Nutrition (2016-2025). This empowerment extends to development of the ‘precautionary approach’ with the Central Arctic Ocean fisheries agreement in the high seas, beyond the sovereign jurisdiction of nations.  This is actionable at an international scale now.

Despite these opportunities, access to Arctic foods is at times constrained by policy approaches that restrict development of sustainable harvest and aquaculture initiatives. What changes are needed to policy approaches to have greater impact on food security and nutrition, and how might these changes be achieved? Policies are products delivered by the process of diplomacy, with science diplomacy as an international, interdisciplinary and inclusive (holistic) process. What processes will facilitate holistic integration of priorities in the areas of food security so that decisions about harvest and cultivation foster a sustainable and thriving Arctic food ecosystem?

We invite submissions addressing the above mentioned issues, and in particular issues such as:

  • Climate-mediated impacts on food security, human nutrition, and ecosystem health
  • International and regional comparisons of sustainable harvest and policy approaches
  • Harvest and aquaculture safety and sustainability in the context of climate change
  • Nutrient composition and contaminant concentrations in Arctic food sources
  • Impacts of aquaculture on wild stocks and subsistence fisheries
  • Innovative product development, preservation, ecosystem and supply chain management involving Arctic food systems and local and global efforts to improve human food security
  • Use of existing and new marine and terrestrial resources to ensure food security including potential use of Arctic algal sources of omega-3 fatty acids as a replacement for fish meal in fish aquaculture
  • Potential of seaweed harvesting and seaweed aquaculture in the Arctic

Scientific committee

  • Tracey Galloway, University of Toronto, Canada (co-lead)
  • Marian Kjellevold, Institute of Marine Research, Norway (co-lead)
  • Narcisa Bandarra, Portuguese Institute of Sea and Atmosphere, Portugal
  • Laurie Chan, University of Ottawa, Canada
  • Christel Elvestad, Nord University, Norway
  • Ida-Johanne Jensen, UiT the Arctic University of Norway
  • Shirley Tagalik, Community of Arviat, Nunavut, Canada
  • Anita Alvheim, Institute of Marine Research, Norway (secretary)


The Arctic Frontiers secretariat is hosted by Akvaplan-niva located at the Fram Centre in Tromsø, Norway. The secretariat is responsible for day to day operations and for the organisation of the annual conference, and reports to the steering committee.

The secretariat is led by Ole Øvretveit.


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