Eco-labels

There have been several proposed programs for eco-labeling seafood products in an effort to provide incentives to fisheries managers to create sustainable fisheries. The purpose of these initiatives is to provide a market-based incentive for sustainable fisheries management

 MSC Eco-Label                                            
According to the UNFAO, about 70 per cent of our global fisheries are now being fished close to, already at, or beyond their capacity.

Eco-labeling has become a useful tool for governments in encouraging  environmental practices. It serves as a market-based instrument intended to bring about environmental improvement.

Having certified eco- labels on its products shows the public that fish companies are committed to providing healthy and safe products for consumers.

Are you willing to pay for sustainable fish?

If you are interested in knowing more about MSC  and its certifications http://www.msc.org/

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2 Responses

  1. As long as the issue of sustainable fishing has been on the cusp of public consciousness it seems that progress has been slow in convincing people to eat – and pay – for sustainable fish. Something hasn’t quite translated from the fairly well-publicized facts of global overfishing and the dangers of (some) farmed fish to the dinner plate. I don’t pretend to have the answer, but I would say we should be asking a different question: Can we afford unsustainable fish?

  2. I am curious about the missing link between providing information regarding the affect of overfishing and the lack of initiative in tackling the problem. Perhaps calling it a “lack of initiative” is not appropriate as there are obviously quite a few people out there who are working on publicizing information about overfishing and are working to find alternatives to build more sustainable ecosystems. My question is: why has progress been so slow?

    I suspect that part of the problem is the “out of sight, out of mind mentality” that is pervasive in most modern societies. Attacking global warming can provide a visible and collective forum (although I use this term very loosely). You can tell when you are breathing polluted air (sometimes) and you can see the damage to ecosystems when there is an oil spill or when there is an over flowing landfill. Recycling programs, for example, give the individual a sense of instant gratification by allowing them to help curb part of the problem through a visible and collective effort (even though it is such a small gesture). This might explain why curbing carbon and battling global warming and climate change is so popular while sustainable fishing moves down the priority list. The fisheries are something far removed from the consumer, and so, it is easy to talk about why it is bad to over fish, but it is a lot harder to convince the consumer to think before buying.

    As a result, I am cautious about the benefits of labeling fish as “eco-friendly.” Even if the guidelines are done right, there is still the possibility for companies to take advantage of that label to make profits with only marginal changes. This very behavior has been well documented in the world of organic foods. Because the term “organic” is quite broad, companies have been able to make very small changes in order to add the label to their products. As a result, they are promoting products that are not necessarily as organic as the public may think. Perhaps this view is too pessimistic, and maybe creating a new label to promote sustainable fishing will provide marginal benefits. If you are in the camp of any small change helps then perhaps it is worth a shot.

    To answer the question, “can we afford unsustainable fish”, the general answer is certainly ‘no.’ Yet will we continue to pay for unsustainable fish, the answer is probably ‘yes.’

    I recently read a good article on overfishing and what can be done to curb it based on an article in the Science journal. Here is the link: http://www.sciencecodex.com/efforts_to_curb_overfishing_starting_to_show_results

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