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Americans’ Concerns About Their Health and the Health of the Environment Are Significantly Up Since the Start of the Pandemic

Marine Stewardship Council working with fishers, chefs, and dietitians to share seafood that’s good for people and the planet with a FREE digital cookbook available in time for February Heart Health Month

WASHINGTON – Feb. 1, 2022 – This February, the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), the world’s leading sustainable seafood certification, is helping Americans make good on their desire to live more healthy and sustainable lives. The MSC is showing how certified sustainable seafood can be easy to find, simple to prepare, and good for their health and ocean health. Following two dark years of the pandemic, as well as record heat waves, natural disasters, and more, consumers are motivated to think about their health and the health of the planet differently. Recent research shows that nearly 30% of consumers plan to live more healthily and sustainably when imagining a post-pandemic future[1], and the MSC is educating consumers on how choosing planet-friendly seafood can be an easy way to live their values, starting with February Heart Health Month.  

Now and following the pandemic, more than half (51%) of Americans plan to pay more attention to their health[2].  One way Americans can strive for a healthier lifestyle is to incorporate more sustainable seafood into their diets.  The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends eating two, 3.5-ounce servings of seafood a week[3], and while 36% of US seafood consumers have increased the amount of seafood they consume over the last five years[4], the USDA still reports a majority of Americans don’t meet the recommendation for fish and shellfish consumption. 

Going live today, the MSC paired talented chefs with a fleet of dedicated fishers from around the world to create delicious recipes featured in a second annual MSC Ocean Cookbook 2022 - a free digital collection that demonstrates that sustainable seafood is a win-win for people and planet.  

One of the 12 recipes featured in the cookbook is ‘Puttanesca Style Squid Salad’ from MSC US Ambassador, Chef Gregory Gourdet, “Top Chef” All-Star, cookbook author, and restaurateur. It was especially important to feature squid in this year’s cookbook as it is one of the few marine species that may be adapting well to the pressures of climate change[5].  Seafood enthusiasts can feel extra good choosing squid carrying the MSC blue fish label on it knowing it has been sustainably caught. The MSC blue fish label can only be applied to wild-caught seafood products from a fishery that has been independently assessed for its impacts on wild fish populations and the ecosystems they are a part of.  Furthermore, the recipe is high in protein and low in fat and shows squid can be so much more than just calamari. 

“It brings me such joy to demystify seafood preparation and give home chefs the inspiration and confidence they need to enjoy sustainable seafood at home,” shared Chef Gourdet. “I believe seafood can be part of a planet-friendly diet, and I’ve seen first-hand at a squid fishery in Rhode Island how responsible fisheries are doing their part to protect our waters and wildlife.”  

Two common myths that prevent consumers from increasing their consumption of sustainable seafood are that certified seafood is not available where they shop and that it may not fit into their budget[6].  Fortunately, seafood with the MSC blue fish label can be found in a wide array of grocery stores around the country in the fresh case, frozen section, and canned aisle, and is also available at a variety of price points to ensure sustainable seafood is accessible to all. By partnering with notable chefs and featuring a variety of seafood, the MSC Ocean Cookbook 2022 aims to help seafood enthusiasts find cooking with sustainable options more accessible. 

All 12 recipes in the cookbook also include health and nutrition tips provided by health expert Carrie Walder, MS RD. By celebrating the stories of certified sustainable fisheries and sharing easy-to-enjoy recipes and health tips, the Cookbook shows how seafood can be a winner for leading a healthier life and protecting the environment. 

“As we enter the third year of the pandemic, there’s a shift away from restrictive diets and an increased focus on overall wellness, nourishment, and immunity,” shared Walder. “Similarly, there’s a desire to make thoughtful food choices that support our planetary health. Seafood provides many of the nutrients required to support our health, and by choosing seafood with the MSC blue fish label, you can rest assured that the wild-caught seafood we love today will be around for generations to come.”

According to Walder, seafood -- rich in Omega-3s, iron, B and D vitamins, and protein -- is crucial for heart health, immune support, and mental health. Additionally, research shows that a pescatarian diet is about as climate-friendly as the average vegetarian diet[7].  Specifically, wild fish has one of the lowest impacts on the planet, scoring higher only than wheat, corn, beans, and rice in terms of greenhouse gas emissions per gram of protein, according to the World Resources Institute[8]

Together with fisheries and companies sourcing MSC certified seafood, consumers’ collective actions to choose MSC labeled products can help improve ocean health and ensure wild seafood for generations to come. More than 90% of MSC certified fisheries make improvements so they continue to meet the high bar of the MSC Fisheries Standard for sustainability. When consumers choose MSC labeled products, they are supporting continuous changes on the water to help make the ocean healthier tomorrow than it is today. 


[1] GlobeScan Healthy & Sustainable Living Report, 2021

[2] GlobeScan Healthy & Sustainable Living Report, 2021

[3] American Heart Association

[4] GlobeScan/MSC Survey, 2020

[5] Blake L Spady, Tiffany J Nay, Jodie L Rummer, Philip L Munday, Sue-Ann Watson, Aerobic performance of two tropical cephalopod species unaltered by prolonged exposure to projected future carbon dioxide levels, Conservation Physiology, Volume 7, Issue 1, 2019, coz024, AND Squid Could Thrive Under Climate Change, Science Daily (2019)

[6] GlobeScan/MSC Survey, 2020

[7]Dietary greenhouse gas emissions of meat-eaters, fish-eaters, vegetarians, and vegans in the UK

[8] World Resources Institute

Q&A With the MSC

As people learn more about the sustainable seafood movement, we’re asked more and more questions. Read some of the top questions from consumers, and maybe even submit your own!

Q&A With the MSC