Hundreds of millions of people around the world depend on our oceans; aside from feeding families, the seafood industry is an enormous economic engine, valued at an estimated $153 billion. But climate change and overfishing threaten to upset the balance that we depend on.
The good news is that consumers now have the power to support sustainable fishing practices that protect both the ecology and the financial viability of seafood — for everybody.
Choose the blue fish
The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), an international nonprofit organization that promotes efforts to protect oceans and seafood, has established strict standards for sustainability: Fisheries must work toward ensuring healthy fish populations, use fishing techniques that have a minimal environmental impact, and be compliant with all relevant laws and policies. Worldwide, 370 fisheries have entered the program, giving them the right to display MSC’s blue fish logo which makes it easy for consumers to make sustainable choices.
The Council also uses its program to encourage innovation. One example is the addition of LED lights along fishing nets that have reduced the bycatch — unintended fish caught in nets — by significant amounts. The lights were added when the Council pushed fisheries in Oregon to find ways of reducing bycatch of the eulachon, a fish that is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
Whether we rely on fish for our living or simply enjoy eating delicious, healthy seafood, making sustainable choices is crucial. Consumers have a responsibility to themselves, their families, and future generations to ensure we have seafood for today, tomorrow, and always — and the MSC blue fish logo is a simple way to do your part.
Jackie Marks, Senior Public Relations Manager, Marine Stewardship Council, [email protected]