Wanted: Sustainable Seafood
By Stephanie Morgan, Communications Intern
If you’re like me, you know that there are serious issues with the way we acquire our seafood. You want to be a part of the solution by buying sustainable seafood, but you’re a bit confused as to what’s what. WWF was curious to find out just how many people out there are struggling with this issue. That’s why we conducted an online poll exploring Canadian attitudes toward and knowledge of sustainable seafood. The majority of people that participated felt sustainable seafood was important for protecting the future of the world’s oceans and fish stocks.
It is encouraging to know that people are aware of the importance of healthy oceans. After all, over 1 billion people rely on oceans for protein. However, two-thirds of the world’s fish stocks are fully exploited, over-exploited, depleted or recovering at a slow rate. In other words, it’s not looking good. As you may know, sustainable seafood comes from well-managed sources that allow fish populations to grow and thrive, even while being used for food.
Some interesting findings of the poll include:
- 63% have heard of the term “sustainable seafood”
- 11% buy sustainable seafood every time or almost every time they shop; 21% do so at least once a month
- 65% look to retailers and producers for information about where seafood comes from; 33% look to government or government agencies; 24% to environmental non-profit organizations
- Canadians don’t buy sustainable seafood mainly because it’s not available (72%) and/or because they aren’t sure that what is being sold as sustainable is actually produced sustainably (also 72%)
There is clearly a lot of work to be done, but it is exciting to see that Canadians are eager to get involved and support sustainable seafood. For now, try to get informed – for example, the leading independent certification system for sustainable seafood is the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). That is a good label to keep an eye out for. Also, don’t be afraid to ask your local grocer where the seafood you’re buying comes from. We have the right to know, so we can start making a difference!