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Concern for the oceans drives sustainable seafood sales

Almost one in three consumers (31%) worry that that their favourite fish will be off the menu in 20 years time, according to new research by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).

The study, conducted by independent insights consultancy GlobeScan, also reveals that more than half of UK seafood shoppers (52%) have made changes to the way they choose and buy seafood in the last year, with one in five switching to a brand or product which says it helps the oceans or fish.

The MSC says the figures are evidence that high levels of concern for our oceans are driving a surge in consumer awareness and activism.

This, it says, is backed up by purchasing data from the MSC showing that UK shoppers spent more than £1 billion on MSC certified sustainable seafood in 2019, an increase of 21% on the previous year and representing nearly a third of all UK fish and seafood sales.

The Globescan research also reveals that a large proportion of consumers (72%) recognise the importance of only eating fish and seafood that comes from sustainable sources.

The research coincides with World Oceans Day and sees MSC launch a new global campaign -  Little Blue Label, Big Blue Future - to encourage more consumers to switch to seafood certified to its ‘blue label’ standard as a simple way to help make a big difference.  

Erin Priddle, MSC’s programme director for UK & Ireland comments: “With overfishing, climate change and pollution putting increasing pressure on our oceans, the choices we make as consumers have never been more important. It’s clear that UK seafood shoppers really do care where their seafood comes from and how it is sourced, and many are changing their purchasing habits in a bid to help safeguard our oceans.  

“What the results also show is that many more consumers are willing to take action than have done already. That’s why this World Oceans Day we are encouraging more people to ‘vote with their forks’ and look out for seafood with our little blue label in major supermarkets, fish and chip shops and restaurants across the UK.  Choosing sustainable seafood is a small change we can all make to help create a Big Blue Future, because the choices we make can have a big ripple effect.” 

In the UK, 22 fisheries are now MSC certified covering 13 different species of fish including haddock, plaice, and hake, as well as shellfish such as scallops, cockles, and mussels.

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