With customers becoming increasingly mindful of the environmental impact of their food choices, there’s more importance placed on how food is sourced. Seafood, in particular, has come under scrutiny as historical over-fishing has led to species endangerment.
What is MSC Certified seafood?
The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) aims to recognise and reward sustainable fishing practices, influence consumer choices, and work with partners to transform the seafood market. The MSC label lets consumers know that a product has been approved as being sustainable. But what is sustainable fishing?
Sustainable fishing practices ultimately mean leaving enough fish in the ocean to ensure the future of fish populations, whilst respecting habitats and ensuring fishing communities maintain their livelihoods. MSC certification works around three main principles:
- Sustainable fish stocks: Ensuring there’s enough fish in the ocean for fish populations to be healthy and productive.
- Minimising environmental impact: Fishing in a way that doesn’t damage habitats and the ecosystem.
- Effective fisheries management: Ensuring that fishing operations adapt to changing environmental conditions and comply with legislation.
How is sustainable fishing good for the environment?
Unsustainable fishing harms the environment by endangering species and their habitats. Currently, three-quarters of the world’s fish stocks are either fully-fished or over-fished. This can lead to whole species becoming highly endangered like the Pacific Bluefin Tuna and swordfish.
Sustainable fishing practices have helped fish stocks recover where these have been shrinking, and they help to protect ocean habitats. The establishing and maintaining good fishing practices, and not fishing beyond annual quota limits, means that fish populations are well managed which, in turn, leads to a stable livelihood for those who rely on fishing for their main source of food and income.
Why should I source MSC certified seafood?
In addition to the environmental benefits, there are many other reasons to choose sustainable seafood for your business:
- Sustainable food is a trend that’s here to stay: Consumers are becoming more mindful of how their eating habits impact the environment. They want to know more about how and where the food they eat is sourced and will support businesses whose sustainability values match their own. This year there has been a clear trend towards consumers choosing more sustainable food options. Sourcing MSC certified ingredients and products lets your customers know you’re making efforts to minimise your environmental impact, and know that sustainable fishing practices are the only way to safeguard fish stocks for future generations.
- Transparency is key: More than ever customers are expecting transparency from the businesses they spend their money with. They want to know where food comes from, and how it was produced and farmed. By sourcing sustainable seafood dishes, you can reassure your customers that their meal is helping to protect the future of our oceans, and the livelihoods of fishing communities around the world.
- Consumers choose certified products: In 2018 the nation spent £2 billion on ethical food and drink including organic, Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance, and MSC certified products. 83% of UK adults claim they have bought food and drink with some form of ethical certification and 49% of adults believe their food choices impact the environment. By featuring seafood with a sustainable certification, you are appealing to those who actively seek out ethical food choices.
By sourcing MSC certified products, you will be able to offer a sustainable, varied menu that appeals to the latest trends, encourages more ethical eating habits and reflects your environmental values.