World Ocean Day: Five ways you make a difference by choosing sustainable seafood

By: Food Focus on 08 June 2021

Our oceans are under threat from human activity and a collective effort is required to ensure they remain teaming with life for years to come. This World Ocean 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 in the supermarket can make a big difference to the planet:

You’re ensuring wild fish is 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. Latest UN data shows that now less than two thirds are within these levels, putting this vital source of nutrition for millions at risk. By buying fish from sustainable fisheries certified to the MSC’s scientific standard, you’re encouraging more retailers to stock sustainably-sourced seafood and more fisheries to improve their environmental impact and become certified.


You’re supporting 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 long-term or irreversible impact on vulnerable marine ecosystems.


You’re choosing 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 kilo of fish emits a much smaller proportion of CO2 compared to producing a kilo 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.


You’re supporting livelihoods

The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation estimates that globally the livelihoods of 1 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 them 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.


You're joining 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.