Because we know that our choices as consumers affect every step in the fish's journey from sea to plate, and, by insisting on sustainable products whenever we buy fish, we can influence the supply.
Because when we buy sustainably sourced fish, we can be sure that we are helping to protect what we value while getting what we want.
Because now it is easier than ever to know what we are buying; the European Union’s Common Fisheries Policy´s new labeling rules will help consumers find out exactly where their fish comes from.
Because if we buy sustainable we know it has been fished responsibly. From 2015 the wasteful practice of discarding fish will be phased out, so that by 2019 it will be eliminated. This means that fishing vessels will have to land what they catch, with the added benefit of lesser known species becoming more widely available to buy instead of being dumped.
Because we have many options. Aquaculture also has an important role to play in bringing healthy, nutritious and sustainable seafood to our tables, and in alleviating the pressure on our wild stocks. In the EU we can buy salmon, trout, sea bass, carp, sturgeon, mussels and oysters amongst many other popular species all produced according to strict environmental and health rules.
There is a lot of advice on this subject for consumers. So, the question is, how do we make the choice when buying fish?
Your fishmonger, retailer or restaurant can help you understand where their fish comes from and how it was caught or produced. They can also help you understand if your fish is a sustainable choice when you buy it. "Freshness" often means "local", and vice versa.
Scientific information and consumer guides from regional or national authorities, and industry or non-governmental organisations can also help you decide on alternative species and fish stocks that are not at risk of overfishing. Ask your local producer to explain how they catch their fish and how they commit to sustainability.
Branding schemes can help you decide if your pre-packaged supermarket fish choice is sustainable. However, as with all independent schemes, we recommend you look into their methods of certification to find out more.
Be informed and be critical. Make your own judgments. Ask your local fishmonger or supermarket for advice.
Buying sustainable fish might mean making a few different choices but it will help you discover how much our seas, lakes and rivers have to offer.