Scottish haddock and Cornish sardine fisheries were the focus of this year’s MSC Sustainable Seafood Week, with fishermen talking about why sustainability is important to them.

During Sustainable Seafood Week, which ran from 16 to 24 September and was supported by retailers and brands including Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Bird’s Eye, the Co-op and Young’s, consumers were urged to choose seafood products with the blue MSC ecolabel.

In addition, seafood lovers can now, for the first time, easily find their nearest fish and chip shop serving sustainable seafood with a new digital list launched by MSC UK last week.

Fishermen from the haddock and sardine fisheries featured on billboards and in the MSC’s marketing materials and website stories across the campaign period.

Andrew Bremner, skipper of the Boy Andrew WK 170, said: “It’s in my interest to fish within sustainable levels. You have to make sure you are guaranteeing a future in the job.”

Of the sustainable Scottish haddock landed by his vessel, he said: “The MSC label shows the consumer it is a sustainable and safe product to eat and you are not harming the stock. It gives them confidence when they buy.”

Tom Lambourn, a crewman on the sardine ringnetter Lyonesse PZ 81, said: “We want this fishery to be successful. We’re very proactive so that it remains a success story for future fishermen. Why would you not want fish for the future?”

Katie Keay, MSC senior fisheries outreach manager, UK and Ireland, said: “It’s fantastic to showcase the hard work of our MSC-certified fisheries across our campaigns. The theme for Sustainable Seafood Week this year is ‘It’s all hands on deck’, and this encapsulates what we want to say about protecting our oceans. If we want to make a difference, we all need to play a part, and that includes everyone from the fishermen, the producers and retailers through to the consumer.”

MSC UK hosted a series of activities for Sustainable Seafood Week, including Sustainable Seafood Suppers with top British chefs showing how to make delicious sustainable seafood meals for the whole family to enjoy. Chefs Mitch Tonks, James Strawbridge and Elizabeth Haigh hosted ocean- themed cooking classes and shared their culinary tips.

One-third of fisheries around the world have been fished beyond sustainable limits, and a further 60% are fished to their maximum capacity. Seventy-two percent of seafood consumers agree that in order to save the ocean, we have to consume fish and seafood only from sustainable sources, according to research conducted for the MSC by independent research consultancy GlobeScan.

“Choosing the blue MSC ecolabel is an easy way for consumers to help safeguard seafood supplies for the future and keep the oceans teeming with life,” says the MSC.

This story was taken from the 30 September issue of Fishing News. For more news and in-depth reports on the UK and Irish commercial fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing News here or buy the 30 September issue for just £3.30 here. (Main image credit: Nigel Millard for MSC UK)

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