Demand for seafood is increasing as the world’s population grows and people look for healthier meal options. Our everyday seafood choices, from shopping at the supermarket to eating out – are important not just for today but for tomorrow.
Humans continue to take more fish from ocean supplies that can’t be replaced naturally and as a result many fish stocks are now in decline. Consequently, it’s now more important than ever to secure a sustainable supply of seafood not just for today but well into the future.
What is sustainable seafood?
Sustainable seafood can be wild-caught or farmed / aquaculture.
For wild-caught fish, sustainable seafood is sourced from abundant fish stocks, using methods that do not damage ocean habitats or catch large volumes of non-target species (by-catch) and have responsive management systems in place.
Sustainable farmed seafood is grown in aquaculture systems that do not destroy habitat or depend on overfished wild-caught fisheries as feed.
There are lots of certifications out there, but what do they mean? Here’s a guide to the two of the most commonly used.
Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
MSC is the world’s leading independent certification and eco-labelling scheme for wild-caught seafood. To achieve MSC certification, fisheries must demonstrate - through a rigorous, independent assessment process – that the stocks being targeted are healthy, the fishing practices have minimal impact on the marine eco-system and overall the fishery is well managed.
What is Pole and line?
Tuna is the world’s most popular fish. Some methods used to catch the fish can have a significant impact on the health of our oceans. Currently, most tuna is caught using large-scale industrial fishing methods which include fish aggregating devices or FADs. These methods can increase the amount of by-catch or non target tuna species caught, therefore, impacting marine life such as sharks and turtles.
Pole and line fishing is where fish are caught one at a time by hand using a hook and line attached to a long pole. It therefore lessens the likelihood of by-catch.
What you can do
- For an ocean friendly future choose seafood products displaying the MSC eco-label.
- Be a Keeper - avoid plastic – always pack your own bag.
- 'Do the right thing' with waste – put your rubbish in the bin and if possible keep our beaches clean by picking up rubbish even it is not yours.
- Be a Keeper - avoid plastic – always pack your own drink bottle to refill. Plastic waste has a devastating impact on marine life with wildlife getting entangled or ingesting discarded items.
- Reduce your carbon footprint to help oceans – take public transport, turn off the lights when not needed, and turn off appliances at the wall.
- Grow or buy organic. These products are farmed with methods which do not use chemicals or fertilizers that can be dangerous for our oceans.
- Think, then ask before you buy – is this made from wildlife? Don't purchase items that exploit marine life, such as coral and shell jewellery.
- Speak out and get involved – donate your time to support organisations and local associations that are fighting to protect marine life and our oceans – get your friends and family involved in a beach cleanup.
- Recycle, or dispose of it correctly – remember that what you put down the drain ends up in our ocean.
- Tell your friends and family what you've learned about oceans and how to make a difference.