WWF Portugal and the MSC conducted a Workshop about MSC/ASC certification and availability of certified products for a sustainable consumption of fish.

The workshop took place in Lisbon during the morning of 23 of February. This initiative was organized in the context of the WWF project Fish Forward, on responsible fish consumption in Portugal and Europe to promote the sustainability of seas, oceans and fish – dependent communities as a source of income.

The event was opened by Ângela Morgado from WWF and Laura Rodriguez from the MSC.

First Rita Sá, from WWF presented: ‘Overfishing of the oceans and environmental labels: can sustainable consumption of fish make a difference?’. Her presentation highlighted the global problem of the overexploitation of stocks, the lack of sustainability of some fisheries and the consequences for the environment and for people. The Fish Forward project was also mentioned as a tool to respond to this part of the problem, since it aims to raise awareness about the sustainable consumption of fish.

Another input, from Laura Rodriguez as MSC, was about Certification Programs; she spoke about the MSC tool, its connection to markets and work for the sustainability of the oceans. She highlighted the importance of this workshop in a country like Portugal, where the consumption of fish and seafood is so high. Still in the context of MSC, Carlos Montero explained MSC as a tool and explained the requirements, process, standard (stock status, ecosystem impact, fisheries management) and gave some examples of certified fisheries.

Another organisation speaking at the event was the ASC, represented by Barbara Janker, who made a progress report on ASC certification in Portugal and Spain. Mrs. Janker also explained aquaculture standards and the sector and gave some examples of successful partnerships with retailers in Europe. She also shared some of the ASC’s communication challenges.

Regarding the theme ‘There are stories behind your plate’ that WWF has released through its installation in the form of a boat, and in a context related to MSC / ASC certifications and market examples, LIDL representative João Rodrigues and Nuno Ceitil from IKEA gave a presentation about their experiences as companies advocating for certified fish products. They showed the range of products they sell in their stores and shared some communication actions related to this.

There was still time for some Questions and Answers that eventually focused on topics such as sustainability, certification process, MSC / ASC labels and communication. WWF ended up challenging the present companies and management, to enable and enhance the increase the number of sustainable products / fish in Portugal.