Fish as food
The myriad of fish species available makes seafood one of the most exciting dishes to serve, providing a great variety of flavours, ingredients and new ways to cook. From salty seaweed to sweet scallops, the oceans give us an irreplaceable, renewable source of food and nutrition, essential for healthy eating. And for some, a reliable source of fish is essential for food security and survival, not a luxury.
Choosing certified sustainable seafood allows you to support well managed fisheries and help ensure that future generations will be able to enjoy the amazing choice of seafood we know today.
Who eats fish?
According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization,
- About 75% of fish caught is used for human consumption. The remainder
is converted into fish-meal and oil used mainly for animal feed and for farmed fish.
- About 1 billion people largely in developing countries rely on fish as their primary animal protein source. For example, while fish provide slightly over 7 percent of animal protein in North and Central America, in Asia they provide over 26 percent.
- In general, people in developing countries and especially those in coastal areas are much more dependent on fish as a staple food than those in the developed world.
- As a continent, Asia has the highest consumptions of seafood, combining high per-person consumptions with large populations.
As the world's population grows, this demand for fish for food is expected to continue to grow.
Based on present levels of consumption and projected population growth, by 2010 demand could reach 120 million tonnes a year, a substantial increase from the 75-85 million tonnes of the mid-1990s.
Safeguarding seafood for future generations
If we want to safeguard food security for people around the world today, and let future generations enjoy the rich choice of fresh, healthy seafood that we know today, we need to ensure our oceans remain productive. At the MSC we believe that the best way to do this is to recognise and reward sustainable fishing, not to exclude fish from our diets. To stop eating seafood would deprive fishers of their livelihoods. It would also mean that you, and other consumers, would miss the opportunity to influence companies that buy and sell fish towards sourcing more environmentally responsible seafood. And it would mean that we would be depriving ourselves of all the benefits from eating seafood.
Instead, choosing MSC certified sustainable seafood allows you to enjoy eating fish in the knowledge that you have made a positive choice to support well managed fisheries. These fisheries are pioneering new ways to conserve the marine environment. By supporting them through your regular shopping decisions you send a clear message back, encouraging more retailers to stock sustainably-sourced seafood and more fisheries to switch to sustainable practices.