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Fish as food

The myriad fish species available make seafood one of the most exciting dishes to serve, providing a great variety of flavours, ingredients and new ways to cook. And for some, a reliable source of fish is essential for food security and survival, not a luxury.

Who eats fish?  

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization,

  • About 85% 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. In 2010, fish provided more than 2.9 billion people with almost 20% of their intake of animal protein, and 4.3 billion people with about 15 % of such protein.
  • 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. In some countries, fish accounts for more than 25% of animal protein intake.
  • As a continent, Asia has the highest consumptions of seafood, combining high per-person consumptions with large populations.

Rising demand

As the world's population grows, this demand for fish for food is expected to continue to grow.

In the mid-1990s seafood production was around 75-85 million tonnes. In 2012, Global fisheries and aquaculture production totalled 158 million tonnes. This is approximately 10 million tonnes more than 2010.

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.

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.

Choose MSC certified seafood >

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