In a new study, 83 percent of New Zealand respondents reported they believe we need to protect fish so our children and grandchildren can enjoy seafood. The research was produced by independent body, Globescan, commissioned on behalf of NGO the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).
Today,14 May, marks the first Sustainable Seafood Day in New Zealand, bringing together members of the seafood community including government, academia, industry and NGOs come together to celebrate sustainable fisheries, seafood and what more can be done to create a positive impact on the oceans.
In this new research, New Zealand respondents rated ocean pollution such as plastics as the highest perceived threat to ocean health, followed by overfishing and illegal fishing.
Purchasing MSC certified seafood is one way consumers can make a positive difference to the world’s oceans. Consumers can easily identify certified sustainable seafood by looking for the blue MSC ecolabel.
“Over half of New Zealand’s wild caught seafood is certified to the MSC Standard for Sustainable Fishing and 74% of deep water fisheries are certified, which shows leadership and commitment to safeguarding the oceans for future generations,” says Anne Gabriel, MSC Oceania Program Director.
“Globally 12% of wild marine catch is MSC certified which shows progress of the program over the last 20 years, but also a need to continue working towards our mission of safeguarding seafood supplies for this and future generations,” continues Gabriel.
New Zealand hoki was the first whitefish fishery in the world to meet the MSC standard for sustainable fishing in 2001, a scientific assessment process which can take 12-18 months is undertaken independently by a third-party auditor. Since its certification the New Zealand hoki fishery stocks have more than doubled in size and the fishery now supplies to markets domestically, as well as the UK, Europe, USA and Australia.
The theme for Sustainable Seafood Day is “Forever Wild” and marks the 20th anniversary since MSC was established by seafood company Unilever and environmental organisation WWF as a science-based and stakeholder-driven programme to incentivise global fisheries towards more sustainable practices.
The day will be marked in Wellington at an event at Te Papa, from 5:30pm to 7:30pm, with the keynote address from the Minister for Fisheries, Hon Stuart Nash, followed by a panel featuring MSC Oceania Program Director, Anne Gabriel, Sanford CEO, Volker Kuntzsch and NIWA Principal Scientist, Dr Matt Dunn.
“Our objective is to create a positive and collaborative dialogue for our oceans moving forward, New Zealand is a global leader in fisheries management, and we want to incentivise further improvements and to facilitate everyone working together for the common goal of sustainable fisheries,” notes Gabriel.
There are currently eight MSC certified fisheries operating in New Zealand and over 300 certified fisheries globally, with over 28,000 products bearing the MSC blue tick across the world.
Consumers can get involved in Sustainable Seafood Day by choosing MSC seafood with the blue ecolabel of approval found in most grocery stores in the frozen and canned aisles. For sustainable seafood recipes and further information on Sustainable Seafood Day search the hashtag #MSCNZ or at MSCAustraliaNZ on Facebook and @Loveoceanlovefood on Instagram.