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The rising tide of sustainable seafood

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STOCKHOLM - McDonald’s. Hilton. IKEA. Each of these corporate titans enjoys an enormous customer base. But what most of their customers might not realize is that these companies are leaders in ocean stewardship: They all sell sustainable seafood. This is an important precedent — but it is not enough.

When it comes to harvesting and selling seafood, “sustainable” is not just an empty label. It represents accountability throughout the value chain, beginning the moment a fish leaves the water, to ensure that the entire process is conducted in a way that enables fisheries — and the ocean ecosystem — to continue to thrive.

The sustainable seafood movement has grown rapidly. Just 20 years ago, sustainability was a niche concept in the seafood industry. Hardly anyone in the business talked about it. Most companies failed to recognize the long-term business consequences of overfishing, let alone place a high priority on conservation.

At that time, the environmental groups that advocated for sustainable seafood were met with suspicion, if not outright rejection. A 1997 cover of Seafood Business magazine asserted that seafood companies should not “crawl under the covers with greenies.”

But much has changed in the last 20 years. Consumers all over the world increasingly expect that the seafood they purchase — whether at a grocery store or a five-star restaurant —........

© The Japan Times