Most people know that today is St Patrick’s Day (a shout out to all my Irish friends, by the way) But many people might not know that last Friday 15th March was Sustainable Seafood Day. Started by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), this day is about celebrating and rewarding certified sustainable seafood fisheries, retailers and champions. It’s about empowering seafood lovers and showing them how their choices can make a positive difference in the world’s oceans.
Our ocean habitats face massive and multiple threats: warming temperatures, mining, pollution and over-fishing to name a few. How can you help? The idea of Sustainable Seafood Day is simple. Only buy seafood bearing the blue MSC ecolabel.
There are seven Australian MSC certified sustainable fisheries. These include; the Northern Prawn Fishery (NPF), Mackerel Icefish, HIMI Toothfish, Macquarie Island Toothfish, Spencer Gulf King prawns, Lakes and Coorong fisheries and the Western Rock Lobster; which was the first MSC certified sustainable fishery in the world and is the first to be re-certified for a third time.
There are now more than 200 canned and frozen seafood products bearing the blue MSC ecolabel available at leading retailers across the country. To view the list of these products visit the MSC’s online Sustainable Seafood Product Finder. The other important thing is to check out the Sustainable Seafood Guide, print version or online, courtesy of the Australian Marine Conservation Society. You can even get an IPhone app now, featuring Greenpeace’s Canned Tuna Ranking. So much to learn. Orange Roughy for example (also known as Deep Sea Perch), live for 150 years. They are slow-growing and late to mature, resulting in a very low resilience. How can we justify trawling for fish that don’t even start breeding until they are 25-40 years old?
And for those who despair as to whether or not our small contribution makes a difference, let me assure you – it does. Every little bit counts. We must celebrate even small advances towards a better future for our planet. Let me share the story about the boy picking up stranded starfish and throwing them back into the sea to save them. A man says to him, “This beach goes on for miles, and there are thousands of starfish. Your efforts are futile. You can’t make a difference!” The boy looks at the starfish in his hand and throws it into the water. “To this one,” he says, “it makes all the difference.” We fix the world one day at a time, one person at a time, one action at a time. Let’s work together for a future full of fish!