It’s in our hands

In a market-oriented society, consumers have an enormous amount of influence. The product range is aligned to demand. This means that everyone can contribute to steering fisheries and aquaculture in a sustainable direction.

The result of decades of inconsiderate and excessive fishing is showing: fish stocks are dwindling and the sensitive oceanic ecosystem has been seriously damaged. If we continue on like this, there won’t only be devastating effects on marine species but also on all people who live from the treasures of the sea or fishing.

The good news is: the seas have the potential to feed billions of people – if we treat the resources sustainably. With intelligent fishing methods we can avoid bycatch and give dwindling fish stocks the chance to recover. Instead of maximising the short-term gain, this can mean long-term and permanent economic benefit. Sustainable fishing contributes to stable economic development and secures the livelihoods of fishing communities and production workers in the fishing industry. This affects us in Europe too –in the Mediterranean alone there are 250,000 fishermen[1] – as well as hundreds of millions of people in developing countries who depend either directly or indirectly on fishing.[2]

Who is responsible?

While political entities should set the suitable conditions for this, it’s up to the consumer to drive through a change in thinking. If sustainably sourced fish is more in demand, restaurants, supermarkets and importers will provide it. Subsequently, producers and suppliers will recognise the increased market for sustainable fish and seafood products and change their fishing or production methods accordingly.

So asking for fish from sustainable fisheries or aquaculture or looking for respective logos like MSC or ASC is already part of the solution. It is in our hands to make the real difference.

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show references for this article

[1] General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean. Current Situation of Small Scale Fisheries in the Mediterranean and Black Sea: Strategies and Methodologies for an Effective Analysis of the Sector. Page 18. http://www.ssfsymposium.org/Documents/FullVersion/BPI.pdf

[2] HLPE, 2014. Sustainable fisheries and aquaculture for food security and nutrition. A report by the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition of the Committee on World Food Security, Rome 2014. Page 34. http://www.fao.org/3/a-i3844e.pdf

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