Over-fishing is emptying the seas faster than nature can replenish them, threatening the food security of hundreds of millions of people. Over 87% of the ocean’s fish stocks are now fully-exploited, over-exploited, depleted or recovering from depletion.
27 July 2012
AFRIKA SCH 24 SCHEVENINGEN, a Dutch super trawler fishing 30 miles off the coast of Mauritania. Greenpeace is campaigning in West Africa for the establishment of a sustainable, low impact fisheries policy that takes into account the needs and interests of small-scale fishermen and the local communities that depend on healthy oceans.
© Pierre Gleizes / Greenpeace
Destructive fishing, climate change and polluting industries are threatening the survival of many marine species and ecosystems.
There are many ways you as a consumer can make sure that the fish you are eating in a restaurant or buying from your local supermarket is sustainable.
Consumer Certification System
Greenpeace does not believe that any fully credible certification system for sustainable seafood currently exists. The most widely recognised seafood certification is the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), an international organisation which aims to certify responsible fisheries and to use consumer power to drive improvement in fisheries management globally. While some very good fisheries now bear the MSC label, so do some particularly bad ones, so unfortunately the MSC label on seafood products is no guarantee of sustainability.
In Senegal, our team has been working tirelessly for the past two years for the protection of West Africa's marine resources. We recently had two campaign victories because of this - Senegal's new president met with Greenpeace Africa and agreed to withdraw the licences of 29 foreign trawlers in May. In July, he went further by closing Senegalese seas to all industrial fishing for 6 months to allow a valuable regeneration window period. Read more about our oceans campaign.
What you can do as a consumer
- Avoid species that appear on a Greenpeace seafood red list. These are species commonly sold in supermarkets that are likely to be unsustainably caught. Choosing something else can help take the consumer pressure off the more popular species.
- Buy from supermarkets that have, or are developing, sustainable seafood policies. Check out your national Greenpeace website to find out if your supermarket has been scored on its seafood sourcing policy. Also check the supermarket's website to find out if it has a policy. If your supermarket does not have a sustainable seafood policy, demand to know when it will have one and where they currently source their seafood from.
- Check the product label for the name, origin and fishing method of seafood you wish to buy. If it's not properly labelled, ask for information from the fish counter or store assistants. Don’t buy seafood if you don’t know where it is from.
- As a general rule, try to choose local species caught by lines, pots or traps, from local fishermen.
- Spread the message about the importance of sustainable seafood.
- Talk to your friends and colleagues and ask them to start thinking about sustainability when they buy seafood.