World Oceans Day: Five ways you make a difference by choosing sustainable seafood
Our oceans are under threat from human activity and a collective effort is required to ensure they remain teeming with life for years to come. This World Oceans Day the Marine Stewardship Council is encouraging seafood shoppers to make the sustainable choice by looking out for its little blue ecolabel on products. Here’s how this little choice can make a big difference to the planet.
1. Ensure wild fish are abundant to enjoy for years to come
Unsustainable fishing is a major international problem. In 1974, 90% of fish stocks were fished within biologically sustainable levels. The latest UN data shows that, now, less than two-thirds are within these levels, putting this vital source of nutrition for millions at risk.
Buying fish from sustainable fisheries certified to the MSC’s scientific standard encourages more retailers to stock sustainably sourced seafood and more fisheries to improve their environmental impact and become certified.
2. Support whole eco-systems
The oceans are home to an extraordinary diversity of life. In fact, up to 80% of all animal life on earth is found under the ocean surface. However, as well as reducing the amount of fish there is in the sea, unsustainable fishing affects local habitats and endangered species.
Overfishing and bycatch are the two leading threats to ocean biodiversity. This is why the MSC’s Standard requires fisheries to show evidence they are not having a long-term or irreversible impact on vulnerable marine ecosystems.
3. Choose a low carbon source of animal protein
As well as being a vital source of nutrition for millions, wild seafood is a relatively low carbon source of animal protein because it doesn’t require land or feed to produce (as with other sources of protein such as eggs, chicken and beef). Studies show that catching a kilogram of fish emits a much smaller proportion of CO2 compared to producing a kilogram of red meat.
Sustainable fishing, therefore, has a vital role to play in ensuring a secure food system while we also address the challenges of climate change.
4. Support livelihoods
The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation estimates that globally the livelihoods of one in 10 people depend on fishing and aquaculture. Some coastal communities depend directly on fish for food security, but many more rely on the income from fishing to sustain themselves and their families, with about 50 million people directly employed in the seafood sector.
By choosing seafood products with the blue MSC label you are directly supporting fishers that take care of our oceans and encouraging others to do the same.
5. Join a collective movement for change
To achieve a big blue future – and continue enjoying the seafood we love – we must all come together and show our passion for our oceans through the actions we take.
By choosing seafood from sustainable sources, you’re joining a collective movement for change. You can take pride in protecting our powerful, awe-inspiring oceans because what you choose today can help protect tomorrow.
Visit msc.org for information on certified sustainable seafood as well as recipe inspiration.