Sustainable fishing helps both animals and people, says WWF on World Food Day
Overfishing has altered the marine ecosystem. Nevertheless, healthy fish stocks remain the basis for food, income and trade for about 800 million people globally who live along the coastal areas. The livelihoods of many of them, particularly those in the developing countries, depend mainly on fishing.
For three billion people, fish provides them with essential protein. While the current decreased supply of fish due to overfishing can feed 20 million people every year; healthy sustainably managed stocks can easily deliver even more fish.
According to the WWF, consumers in Germany and Europe can make a big difference with their choice of fish. For Germany, only up to 12 percent of the fish consumed is sourced from local fishing or breeding; the remainder is imported from overseas. Half of these imports is from developing countries. Herein lies the joint responsibility of consumers: "The right choice at the fish counter has a direct impact on the health of the oceans and the lives of people," said Schacht.
Hence, WWF advises consumers to eat fish from sustainable sources. Recommended species are the North Sea herring, plaice, pout and sprat in the Baltic Sea, or carp and catfish from a European breed. Where possible, they should look out for the eco-labels of MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) for wild fish and Naturland, Bioland, and the ASC (Aquaculture Stewardship Council) label for responsible aquaculture.
“In times of rising world population and a growing global middle class, the sustainable consumption of seafood is essential. Only informed choices can safeguard fish as a dietary source of income and economic factor for the future,” said Schacht.
At a new consumer website (Fish Forward Project), the WWF provides European consumers, retailers and culinary establishments with comprehensive online information about sustainable fish species. In eleven different languages, the global interdependencies of consumer choices are depicted, enabling them to understand the social and environmental impacts of the choices they make. The website also contains subsequent recommendations for consumers, business and policymakers.