Over the last couple of decades, the number of people regularly choosing to include fish in their diet has skyrocketed. While this is a great thing from an individual health perspective, it has seriously depleted the numbers of many popular fish species.
However, when you choose sustainably caught fish, you can happily tuck into your seafood dinner knowing the fish species is being protected. How much better will it taste knowing future generations will be able to enjoy the same delicious treats?
What is sustainable fishing?
When most people hear the term ‘sustainable fishing’, they probably think it means limits on the number of fish that can be caught. While this is partly true, it’s a little more complicated than that.
Sustainable fishing is all about balancing the management of fish stocks, the environmental impacts of fishing, and the needs of the communities who rely on fishing. It is an ongoing process that takes both a short-term practical view and longer-term strategic approach to managing fishing activities.
In the simplest terms, it’s a controlled approach to fishing that allows fish stocks to replenish successfully. This is achieved a number of ways, but primarily through fishing quotas (those limits on the number of fish that can be caught we mentioned earlier), setting up protected areas, and stopping destructive and illegal practices. These practical approaches are underpinned by a much more scientific strategy based on fish population dynamics and the economics of fisheries.
The MSC Fisheries Standard
The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is a global, non-profit organisation that seeks to protect the marine environment and seafood stocks for future generations. Through the use of their independent certification program and blue label, they hope to educate both fishing operations and consumers of the importance of sustainable fishing practices.
The Fisheries Standard is the measuring stick the MSC uses to assess the management and sustainability of a fishery. It is a voluntary certification program that is available to any commercial fishing operation anywhere in the world. Fisheries that meet the Standard (as evaluated by independent assessors) are entitled to use the MSC’s blue label on their products.
Why is it important to eat sustainably caught fish?
If you want your children, and your children’s children, to be able to enjoy delicious, fresh fish, it is critical you choose sustainably caught. Many experts are worried that we’re quickly approaching the point where the damage to key fish stocks will not be able to be undone – at least not without significant changes being made. But when you choose products with the MSC blue label, you help slow this process and ensure the future of the fisheries industry.
At Wholefoods House in Sydney, we only stock fish from sustainable, MSC-accredited sources. We’re particularly proud of our wild-caught sockeye salmon, which we have imported from the world’s leaders in sustainable fishing – Alaska and Canada. These fish are flash-frozen soon after being caught, meaning they stay fresh and delicious, and retain all of their natural nutrients and minerals until they get to you.