Posted on 04th March 2020 by Media Relations
The world’s oceans play an important role in regulating the Earth’s ecosystem functions, in providing habitat for marine wildlife and in sustaining local communities. Currently, an estimated 3 billion people depend on the oceans for their protein. As the world’s population grows, more and more people will begin to rely on the oceans for food, fibre, earning a living and maintaining their livelihoods.
Although vast and seemingly bountiful the oceans are not limitless.
According to the Food and Agricultural Organisation, over 90 per cent of the world’s marine fish stock are now fully exploited, overexploited or depleted. Primarily, this is due to over-fishing and by-catch. Overfishing is where large amounts of fish are removed from an ecosystem. When this happens, it becomes hard for the fish in the ecosystem to repopulate and reach maturity.
By-catch is closely related to and can be a direct result of overfishing. By-catch is where other non-targeted marine species (such as sharks, rays, turtles, sea-birds) are indiscriminately caught in large fishing nets. Often, these animals die. The added pressure of plastic pollution and warming of the oceans are also undermining the health of global fisheries.
Even though the situation is critical, as consumers, we have the power to help create a future full of fish for everyone. The great news is that demand for sustainably caught seafood is increasing around the world. For example:
- 8/10 seafood consumers globally agree that we need to protect seafood for future generations and
- 7/10 seafood consumers want sustainability claims in supermarkets to be independently verified
The simplest way to help create a future full of fish is to look for the ‘blue fish tick’ from the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) next time you are out buying seafood. The MSC certification has been developed over 20 years through rigorous scientific research and analysis. When you buy a seafood product that carries the blue fist tick, you can be confident that it has been caught sustainably and that the habitat is protected. Currently, there are more than 500 products and menus across Australia and New Zealand that carry the MSC label.
Taronga Zoo has been a leader when it comes to helping secure a future full of fish. Taronga’s The View Cafe is the first cafe in Australia to carry the MSC ‘chain of custody’ meaning that the seafood served at the cafe can be traced all the way back to where it was caught. Our marine mammals team have also been educating guests about the importance of MSC during our very popular daily seal presentation.
To help celebrate Sustainable Seafood Week, from the 9th – 15th March, we are encouraging everyone to look for the blue fish tick when they are out shopping for groceries. Why not try cooking some of Scott Gooding’s BBQ prawns. We also encourage you to ask your local cafes and restaurants where they get their seafood from and whether it is MSC certified or not. You can also help protect coastal fisheries by helping make our oceans and rivers litter free.
The world’s oceans play an important role in our lives and help regulate many critical ecosystem functions. Sadly, through destructive fishing practices we have depleted more than 90 per cent of the world’s fisheries. By making simple changes in our everyday behaviour, such as buying seafood that carries the blue fish tick, we will be helping to create a future full of fish for future generations.