Often accused of being more occupied with their immediate priorities, Gen Z also showed an overwhelming concern (88%) for the availability of seafood for their children and grandchildren echoing the sentiments of Greta Thunberg’s campaign for the environment.
New generation celebrity chefs Josh Niland and Analiese Gregory, alongside 2019 Australian Geographic Society’s Young Conservationist of the Year, Angelina Arora and Rockpool’s Neil Perry have all joined the Sustainable Seafood Week campaign to raise awareness and encourage Aussies to look for sustainable seafood.
MSC’s Oceania Program Director, Anne Gabriel said that the level of cognizance and passion demonstrated by young Aussies is reassuring, and given their role into the future, much of this year’s Sustainable Seafood Week focuses on the new ‘Seafood Generation’. “One-third of the world’s seafood population is in decline**, which is an alarming statistic. Seafood is one of the last truly wild food sources we have left on the planet and the next generation will be the people most impacted by its decline, so it’s crucial that we act now and buy sustainable to change the trajectory. 42% of wild caught fish by volume in Australian waters is MSC certified, on par with some of the leading fishing nations around the world. But we don’t do so well when it comes to the seafood we eat. For every 10 times we enjoy a seafood dish, only 1 of them is labelled as MSC certified,” she said.
This lack of awareness was echoed by young Aussies with 86% admitting to finding it hard to know whether their seafood is sustainable or did not know what sustainable seafood is. In fact, 65% believe that schools and universities could do more to educate around climate change and its impact on the ocean.
One Gen Z’er leading the plight is 18-year-old inventor and 2019 Australian Geographic Society’s Young Conservationist of the Year, Angelina Arora who has invented a ground-breaking biodegradable plastic using prawn shell by-product that decomposes 1.5 million times faster than conventional plastic. “My generation is finding its voice when it comes to making a difference for the environment. We have been brought up with new science, a greater awareness of our finite natural resources and the impacts of climate change. It’s then no surprise that young Aussies are leading the charge to drive the nation to make smarter purchasing decisions to protect our oceans for our future. This includes what we put in our bodies and use in our everyday activities. When you go to your local supermarket, you’ll see the MSC’s blue fish tick label. This means that the seafood is traced from a wild-catch fishery which has been independently certified to science-based standard for environmentally sustainable fishing.”
The research was conducted with 1,000 participants aged 16-24 led by YouGov as part of Sustainable Seafood Week (9-15 March), a cause run by Marine Stewardship Council, a non-profit organisation that is on a mission to end overfishing and ensure we have seafood forever with the blue fish tick sustainable certification program.
**Last year’s State of the World’s Fisheries and Aquaculture report from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) laid bare the urgency of the issue. A third of the world’s fisheries have now been exploited beyond sustainable limits – up from a tenth in 1974