October is National Seafood Month, and the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is using it as an opportunity to push consumers to support sustainable fishing. MSC, an international nonprofit focused on creating a healthier future for the Earth’s oceans, is encouraging shoppers to buy seafood products featuring the group’s blue fish label.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reports that overfishing continues to rise, with 34% of the world's fish stocks overfished. At the same time, consumers are demanding more from companies, with 55% of U.S. seafood consumers agreeing that we "must consume seafood only from sustainable sources to protect the ocean."
To allow consumers to recognize sustainably sourced seafood products, MSC developed the blue fish label that can be found on branded and private label products. Walmart’s Great Value private label adopted the certification on its canned tuna earlier this year. There are currently 421 MSC certified fisheries around the world, representing 14% of global wild seafood catch.
Across the U.S., there are 75 MSC certified fisheries, which source scallops, squid and swordfish in the Atlantic, blue crab, menhaden and oysters in the Gulf, and pink shrimp, groundfish, and salmon in the Pacific.
“This Seafood Month, the MSC is spotlighting the community of people working on making the ocean healthier tomorrow than it is today,” said Jackie Marks, senior public relations manager at MSC. “Consumers want more sustainable options, and by choosing MSC blue fish labeled products, they are supporting the people who are doing the right thing for the future of our ocean. A big blue future is one where the oceans are healthy, fish populations are thriving, and consumers can feel good about their seafood choices."
The MSC blue fish label can only be applied to wild-caught seafood products from a fishery that has been independently assessed for its impacts on wild fish populations and the ecosystems they are a part of. Together with fisheries and companies sourcing MSC certified seafood, consumers choosing MSC labeled products can “help improve ocean health and ensure wild seafood for generations to come.”