EducationSustainable Seafood

The next ‘little step’


I have recently written on the difference between wild caught fish and farmed, particularly as regards salmon. Being intimately involved in the seafood sustainability battle, I subscribe to many informative sites. For some reason, what seems to be on every one’s minds now, is plastic in seas and therefore in fish. This certainly is an issue as is mercury and cadmium levels, a concern which come to the fore every now again. Then there were the potential radiation levels after the Japanese Fukushima Daiichi plant situation in 2013. These are all matters of concern and its great to see that people are becoming aware of what is going on in our oceans. But to be honest, one would have to eat a great deal of fish for any real negative impact. One is more likely to have a detrimental health issue from air pollution in our cities.

So, it’s great to see an increased awareness, BUT one must also pick one’s battles. I recollect on my initial quest to get Hong Kong supermarkets to even consider purchasing sustainable seafood as part of a corporate social responsibility initiative. I was told ‘forget’ it! Their focus was on getting people not to use plastic bags. After nearly 8 years, I think they have made some progress, since the Government placed a levy on bags. But that is a crazy long time for a minor change. It did however necessitate a change in mind set, that in itself is positive.

So, what should be the next ‘little step’. I certainly don’t think it should be a specific fight against cadmium, mercury or plastic levels. They should be covered in a greater battle to reduce pollutants. I also don’t think it should be for accreditors like MSC, to pass down the supply chain checks on Forced Labour and Child Labour. In March 2019, they released new requirements for its Chain of Custody Certification (CoC) for on-shore seafood operators, which include provisions to address forced and child labor in seafood supply chains, for the first time. This is important, but whilst we are trying to get ‘buy in’ on the whole concept of sustainability, we should keep it easy and not complicated. These steps, whilst well intended, just cause push back and therefore a reduction in traction.

My view on the next ‘little step’ keep it simple…..Make sure YOU only buy ‘responsibly sourced’ seafood. Look for the accreditations. Supply of these requires use of a detailed and controlled supply chain. You know the source of the product and how it got on your plate. Put pressure on the supermarkets to supply only this type of product. And, Like the plastic bags, can we get Government to promote this through education and possible tariffs and fines. It should be easy. Maybe we start and social media fundraising campaign and take it to the Courts. Just a thought but possible. Any other ideas??

CCH 02072019


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