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Sustainable Fisheries & aquaculture

At a global scale, fish from wild stocks and aquaculture form a major part of the human diet, providing essential protein and nutrients to a growing population whilst meeting specific preferences of consumer demand. To date, the demand for fish from final consumers and from the aquaculture sector (wild fish is used to feed farmed fish) has led to the overexploitation of the wild resource with significant impacts on marine habitats and species. Direct pressures exerted by current fishing techniques include overexploitation of marketable stocks, by-catch of non-marketable individuals and protected species, habitat damage and marine litter. Fisheries can however be conducted in a sustainable way, contributing to the recovery of fish populations. The challenges? There are many, including the maintenance of jobs and trade in the European seafood industry, and our capacity to ‘track back’ all fish to a sustainable source.

In the shift to sustainable fishing practices, ocean literacy can: contribute to broadening consumer preferences to include a wider range of fish species; guide consumers across existing certification schemes and recommendation lists for sustainable fish (the existence of a large number of ‘fish labels’ contributing to consumer confusion and trust reduction); guide consumers in choosing sustainable aquaculture products; support ‘sustainable fish’ among actors that can make a difference: retailers and supermarkets; restaurant & cantine-chef; local authorities…