The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) has launched a new campaign encouraging people to say no to bad fishing practices and to seek out sustainable seafood in 2020. When there is a cause for concern due to overfishing, habitat damage, bycatch or unsustainable practices, these species are Red Rated in the MCS Good Fish Guide.
Currently, approximately 97% of UK households buy and consume seafood, meaning that it is essential to properly safeguard the industry and bring an end to unsustainable practices that threaten endangered and critically endangered marine species.
“By taking our pledge to say no to red rated seafood in 2020 we hope to show that the public support businesses and governments in rapidly implementing measures to improve the status of our fisheries, especially those which are red rated and as such, the least sustainable,” said Samuel Stone, MCS Head of Fisheries and Aquaculture. “Our marine environment and the life within it is under increasing pressure from a range of factors and we need to get our fisheries in a healthy state as quickly as possible so that they have the best chance of surviving these combined threats.”
At the beginning of 2020, the UK failed to meet its target for marine Good Environmental Status and healthy seas. Widespread overfishing removes too many fish from the ocean, while damaging fishing practices continue to risk the future of our marine habitats.
The MCS states that implementing a well-managed network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) is part of the solution which would safeguard vulnerable areas of the UK’s seas, however, despite 25% of UK seas being in MPAs, just 2% of these are legally protected from damaging activities. Only 7% of the UK’s MPAs legally restrict activities such as bottom trawling and scallop dredging. These practices have huge ramifications for the wider marine ecosystem.
“How we fish, farm and purchase seafood is within our control, yet we are still to implement several recommendations for sustainability made decades ago,” added Stone. “2020 must be the year we turn the fate of the ocean around.”
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