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A blog by Louise Heaps, Marine Chef Advisor at WWF-UK.

Having worked in marine conservation around the world for many years, I have had the privilege to see first-hand how our oceans provide significant social and economic benefit to millions of people in coastal communities, as well as thousands of maritime businesses and industries. As well as being a source of extraordinary natural beauty, healthy seas are essential to a functioning global economy.

But this week WWF published its Living Blue Planet report, confirming the need to urgently protect and sustainably manage marine habitats and species. Some details make for grim reading: the size of marine populations has declined by almost half (49%) between 1970 and 2012. Not only is it a disaster for ecosystems, it spells trouble for all nations, especially developing countries which depend heavily on the ocean’s resources for their food, livelihoods and economic development opportunities. 

Every one of us can take meaningful action, starting today, by ensuring that the seafood we eat is responsibly sourced and certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). By buying MSC certified seafood, you are supporting sustainable fisheries, whose good management practices help ensure fish stocks are healthy, better protect the marine environment and ultimately secure the livelihoods of fishing communities.

I encourage everyone to look for the blue MSC ecolabel where available when buying seafood. MSC certified fisheries now represent close to 10% of the total global wild harvest of fish and the label can be found on over 17,000 seafood products in about 100 countries.

Fisheries in the MSC programme are improving the way our oceans are fished. Specifically, to achieve the MSC’s high standard of sustainability, fisheries must ensure that fish stocks remain healthy and that the habitats and ecosystems in which they fish are protected.  This allows us concerned consumers to simply look for the logo, so I encourage everyone to opt for MSC certified seafood wherever possible.

This short film explains how MSC certified fisheries care for the environment.

Follow the debate on social media using #StateoftheOceans and #BluePanda