As a conscious consumer, you want to make choices that have a positive impact, even if they're as simple or as small as what you put on your plate. Here are a few fast facts about why choosing Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified sustainable seafood can help the oceans and shrink your carbon footprint.
Why should we care about sustainable seafood? Why not just avoid seafood all together?
•UN FAO estimates that around 1 billion people rely on seafood as their main source of protein - mostly from the developing world.
•Around 500 million livelihoods depend on the fishing industry.
•Our seas connect every continent and shape every coast. They control our climate and produce half of the oxygen we breathe.
•About 70% of the seafood Australians consume is imported.
•Seafood is a global resource but it's not inexhaustible and by rewarding and recognising the fisheries that are sustainable you can help create a wave of change.
Spread the message by feasting #FortheSea
Friday March 20 the MSC invites you to join in and host your own Sustainable Seafood Day feast with friends, family or colleagues. Simply register at www.msc.org/forthesea for your free hosting pack to receive recipes, information on the MSC as well as decorations and a Nat Geo Wild documentary exploring the MSC with Richard Branson.
Be sure to share the photos from your Sustainable Seafood Day feast with #FortheSea for the chance to win prizes including cookbooks, seafood and family packs to Taronga Zoo and Melbourne Aquarium.
Carbon footprint of wild caught seafood
A study by the EWG shows wild caught seafood specifically, canned tuna ranked as the lowest of the animal proteins (just before eggs). So wild-caught seafood has the lowest carbon footprint but now it's important to choose seafood with the lowest environmental impact on the oceans.
How to choose Sustainable Seafood
One really easy way to identify sustainable seafood is with the (MSC) blue ecolabel. MSC only rewards fisheries the blue ecolabel if they have proven that;
- The population of fish is doing really well
- The fishery is minimising its environmental impact (on marine life and habitats) and
- Using effective management.
(Possible break out box) Some examples of MSC certified fisheries are sustainable
- Northern Prawn Fishery (NPF) around the Gulf of Carpentaria has implemented Turtle Exclusion Devices (TEDs) in their trawl nets and reduce their turtle bycatch by 99%
- South African Hake (usually sold as smoked cod in Australia) by changing their equipment they have reduced their Albatross bycatch by 99%
- New Zealand Hoki through effective management the population has more than doubled since it was first certified by MSC in 2001
Putting sustainable seafood on your fork is a small trigger in a chain of positives actions for the sea. Use the MSC product finder to seek out sustainable seafood near you. Ask the staff at your local seafood counter to get sustainable and MSC certified products- little conversations lead to big and delicious changes.