Most seafood consumers agree: to protect the health of our oceans, we should only consume seafood that comes from sustainable sources. However, the sustainable choice isn’t always clear. To build customer awareness, Kroger – a family of companies serving over nine million customers every day – launched an in-store campaign to highlight sustainable seafood.
Ecuador’s mahi mahi fishery is one of the country’s most valuable artisanal fisheries and products are primarily exported to the United States. Mahi mahi are also critical to the overall health of the marine environment, providing nutrition not just for people but for wildlife as well.
The Ecuadorian mahi mahi fishery is vast and productive, but prior to 2010, there was no ongoing science that industry and government could rely on to determine the overall health of the local fish stock. A size limit to ensure juveniles are not being caught was in place, but there was no control over its application, no meaningful monitoring program, and no management plan to back it up. To promote a sustainable future for this critical fishery, Ecuador’s undersecretary of fisheries resources, in collaboration with World Wildlife Fund (WWF), launched the Ecuador Mahi Mahi Fishery Improvement Project (FIP) in 2010.
By: Wendy Goyert, Lead Specialist, Latin America Fisheries in Transition
On August 7, 2018, The Bahamas’ spiny lobster fishery became the first Caribbean fishery to earn certification from the Marine Stewardship Council, the leading global standard for wild-caught seafood environmental performance.
Since 2009, World Wildlife Fund and The Nature Conservancy have collaborated with The Bahamas Marine Exporters Association, Bahamas Department of Marine Resources and fishermen to ensure the health of the spiny lobster stock, reduce the impact of fishing on the marine environment, and improve the overall management of the fishery.
With the certification, the lobster tails are now eligible to carry the MSC blue fish label, recognized by many consumers as a mark of products sourced with higher environmental standards.
Fisheries and farms across the globe support the livelihoods of 59.6 million people who rely on fishing and fishing related activities for income, and about 3.2 billion people who depend on fish as an important part of their diet. But illegal fishing is threatening the food supply of coastal communities as fish populations decline due to overfishing in areas fishers are not permitted to access. Fortunately, in Peru—one of the world’s leading producers of mahi mahi and squid—the government is taking action to clamp down on illegal fishing.
Every seafood journey is different, but they’ve got at least one thing in common: they all go through a lot to get to your plate.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, nearly 90% of the world’s fisheries are harvested right up to or beyond their ecological limits. This means that at best, fisheries are unable to sustainably produce more seafood or, at worst, are on the verge of collapse. As populations and appetites for nutritious protein like seafood grow, we have precious few resources to spare.
And yet, FAO also reports that around 35% of harvested fish and seafood is either lost or wasted along the supply chain—with other studies putting that number closer to 50%. Where does this loss happen?
By: Chef Lucas Glanville, Guest Contributor
Billions of people around the world rely on seafood for nutrition and livelihoods, but we are taking more from the oceans than can be replaced. This has serious impacts. As the global population and the demand for seafood grows, it will only become more difficult for communities around the world to have access to seafood.
What we put on our plate matters – tremendously. That’s why, as a chef, I have a responsibility to help shift fishing and farming practices and avoid the depletion of this important resource.
For consumers in Brazil, finding and buying local, sustainable seafood is no easy task.
As it stands, farmed tilapia is the only option for domestic, eco-certified seafood. There are no other domestic, eco-certified farms and fisheries in the country.
With so few local, certified products on the market, it is no surprise that Brazilian consumers are not as aware of seafood sustainability issues than those in other regions, such as the United States and Europe. But with a population approaching 210 million, Brazil is an increasingly critical market for sustainable seafood. That is why World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is working with foodservice giant Sodexo in Brazil to help the catering distributor’s buyers choose more sustainable options.
By: Elizabeth Herendeen, Guest Contributor
Bristol Bay, Alaska produces 44% of the world’s sockeye salmon supply. It supports more than 14,000 fishing jobs, centuries-old indigenous communities, and hundreds of species of diverse wildlife, from bald eagles to brown bears to beluga whales.
It’s also a model fishery, managed sustainably by fishermen who understand that it’s in their long-term economic, social, and environmental interests to protect this valuable resource. Unfortunately, looming clouds on the horizon signal rough seas ahead for Bristol Bay’s salmon fishery.
For large brands that want to offer more sustainable seafood to their customers, there are two choices: (1) Buy fish from sources that are certified as sustainable, or (2) Improve fisheries and move them towards certification.