After celebrating Sustainable Seafood Week, I decided to reflect on my own journey regarding sustainable seafood.
My parents, both Italian immigrants, raised me on a good amount of Sirenna Tuna. This was served in many ways, salads, sandwiches, pasta - you name it! I think canned tuna is probably a pantry staple for most families. Once I started working at Taronga Zoo Sydney, caring for seals and working with marine animals, my attitudes towards eating tuna started to shift. Over 15 years ago a bunch of enthusiastic and passionate Taronga Zoo Marine Mammal keepers took a personal pledge to become tuna free. Why? Because we became aware that seal populations were being impacted by our seafood choices. We started to understand that as our population and ongoing desire to eat good quality protein increases, so does the pressure on fish stocks, and some types of fishing practices resulted in some not so friendly interactions with seal populations and other marine species. The team decided it was important to share what we had learnt with our guests who visit Taronga Zoo Sydney’s Seal Theatre. We started talking about sustainable seafood in our presentation and provided information about the types of seafood which were a better choice. Easier said than done! This was at a time when it was very difficult to find clearly labelled products in the supermarkets and when the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) in Australia was just starting to emerge. The team decided to do some research, and better understand what fish and fisheries were in fact sustainable - this opened our eyes to what is a very, very complex subject. Understanding what makes a sustainable fishery is not for the faint hearted!
Enter - the Marine Stewardship Council. The MSC brand and logo helps us take the guesswork out of trying to navigate the difficult waters of genuine sustainability. It is the most scientifically robust, independent certification scheme in the world. MSC has been working hard to help consumers understand that there a lot of different companies out there doing the right thing and, if you’re a seafood eater like I am, the perfect way to help is to support them by buying their products with the MSC logo. All you need to do is look for MSC blue tick! It is a tick that you can trust. This tick assures you that many years of work by scientists and assessors have been invested into certifying a fishery as sustainable.
It is now 2018, the MSC is turning 20 years old and Taronga continues to works closely with them by promoting their ongoing work.
MSC is working hard to make buying sustainable seafood easy. So remember to follow the little blue MSC fish tick when you next head out to buy your canned, frozen and fresh. If you can’t see it, make sure you ask for it!
Happy 20th birthday to the MSC from us at Taronga, let’s help them celebrate by making every week a sustainable seafood week.