We live in an era of seafood traceability and sustainability and consumers are demanding more accountability from businesses. Here’s how you can make smarter choices.
As the seafood industry continues to rise in popularity, substitution and mislabelling of seafood has become a globally recognised issue, putting consumers and the environment at risk.
More and more companies are now actively seeking Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certified products, which assures consumers and seafood buyers that ASC-labelled products can be traced back to a certified responsible farm aiding in the fight towards sustainability.
The ASC is an independent international non-profit organisation that manages the world’s leading certification and labelling programme for responsible aquaculture.
Its aim is to work closely with producers, seafood processors and food service companies to promote good environmental and social choice when purchasing seafood as well as contribute to the transformation of seafood markets towards the present era of sustainability.
By enforcing stricter regulations around conscious consumption, the ASC helps the aquaculture industry uphold standards, such as
- protecting surrounding ecosystems and biodiversity;
- reducing the use of pesticides and chemicals;
- setting stringent controls for the use of antibiotics;
- regulating feed practices which reduces the amount of fish feed that drops to the water below;
- preserving the quality of the water; and
- regulating where farms are situated in order to protect vulnerable nature areas and reserves.
Stefano di Trapani, Co-Founder of local sushi delivery service Oishi, believes that companies can prolong the availability of resources by becoming socially responsible.
“Sustainability and traceability are two very important aspects for us at Oishi. Sustainability ensures that we’re offering environmentally and socially responsible seafood; seafood that is sustainably sourced and has a very low impact on the environment.”
Stefano adds that the seafood they use is correctly labelled and fully traceable to its source. They source their Atlantic salmon from ASC-certified farms in Norway and ensure that the Yellowfin tuna is locally caught with rod and reel, and SASSI green-listed.
Becoming a more socially responsible business has been a journey for Oishi. When they started out, all of the packaging was plastic from the sushi boxes to the plastic bags. Stefano says they realised their impact on the environment and responded to customer demand for a more eco-friendly option.
This led to the company changing to paper packaging and using only FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified paper. This certification ensures that the forest is being managed in a way that preserves biological diversity and benefits the lives of locals and workers alike.
That change reduced their plastic usage by over 75%. They’re not completely plastic-free, so the plastic they do use is previously recycled where available. They also encourage their customers to recycle by adding recyclable labelling on the packaging.
Stefano adds that sustainability should be embraced and seen as an opportunity to produce food that is good for communities and the planet as a whole. By working in harmony with the sea, there is potential to produce more sustainable food through like-minded innovations and partnerships.
The Blue Revolution Plan
Mowi, one of the largest seafood companies and the world’s largest producer of Atlantic Salmon and a supplier to Oishi, is one example.
As the world faces global challenges such as climate change and plastic pollution, Mowi introduced its sustainability strategy called The Blue Revolution Plan.
Catarina Martins, Chief Sustainability Officer at Mowi explains: “The Blue Revolution Plan will help us focus on being part of the solution to those challenges where we operate an eco-efficient value chain and raise our salmon in harmony with nature, thus meeting the demands of a growing population.”
Words: Charla Mentoor