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.
Last month, The Bahamas’ spiny lobster fishery became the first Caribbean fishery to achieve Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification, meeting the leading environmental standard for wild-caught seafood.
The Bahamas certification was a major milestone and charts a path for other spiny lobster fisheries exporting product around the world. Building on this success, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has partnered with Red Lobster, the world’s largest seafood restaurant company and largest restaurant purchaser of seafood, to help improve the environmental sustainability of spiny lobster fisheries in Honduras, Nicaragua, Belize and Brazil
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.
By: Cristina Torres, WWF Chile Marine Program Coordinator
Stretching over 4,000km, Chile boasts one of the world’s most spectacular coastlines. The rich waters around its fjords, channels and islands are home to unique species, including the blue whale – the largest animal to have ever existed.
Southern Chile also supports one of the world’s largest salmon industries, supplying almost a third of all farmed salmon. In Chile, the industry employs more than 70,000 people with annual exports worth around $4 billion. Aquaculture is the fastest-growing food production sector for protein in the world, and in Chile, among other countries, that explosive growth has come with negative environmental and social implications.
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.
Shrimp is the most widely consumed seafood in the U.S. Yet for American consumers, responsibly produced shrimp is difficult to find.
That’s why news from India is noteworthy: One of India’s largest producers of farmed shrimp and a top exporter to the U.S., Falcon Marine has announced that, by 2020, all of its shrimp will be certified by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC). India accounted for about 32 percent of America’s farmed shrimp imports in 2017, making it the number one source of farmed shrimp in the U.S.