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Consumers not making sustainable seafood choices

crabAustralia’s abundance of fresh seafood makes it a favoured food choice for many, but lack of awareness means most consumers are making poor purchasing decisions, according to research released today from the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).

The 2018 GlobeScan Consumer Insights Report revealed that Australian consumers are not acting on sustainability desires. Only nine per cent of those who consume seafood regularly at home are buying eco-labelled fish and seafood products. The blue fish tick label shows that the fish or seafood has been certified to the MSC Fisheries Standard, a science-based set of requirements for sustainable fishing.

The report showed that while 75 per cent of seafood consumers agree that sustainability claims should be clearly labelled by independent organisations, just one in five notice eco-labelled products when shopping.



Anne Gabriel, MSC program director said there is a job to be done to drive eco-label visibility and the benefits of shopping sustainably.

“Unfortunately, Australia ranks in the bottom four when it comes to awareness of the MSC eco-label on seafood products and price perceptions of sustainably produced seafood remain a factor,” Gabriel said.

“Indeed, price was identified as the fifth highest consideration for Aussies when buying seafood, pushing sustainability to seventh place. The research places Australia behind the likes of the UK, Germany and China, where sustainability is one of consumers’ top priorities, and shows that we really need to recognise the importance of considered purchasing.”

Gabriel said that making the switch to eco-labelled seafood will help preserve our marine ecosystem.

“We want consumers to know that paying a small price now will make a big difference to the future of our planet and for future generations.”


According to the research, more than half of Aussies recognise pollution and overfishing as primary threats to the oceans, yet just 15 per cent said they are concerned by a potential seafood shortage in the future.

The MSC works to maintain healthy fish populations, economies and ecosystems. The blue fish tick system aims to stop overfishing and support livelihoods and food security. More than 400 seafood products in Australia carry the MSC eco-label including John West tuna.

Simplot spokesperson Katie Saunders said the strength of the canned fish market in Australia reinforces the need for consumers to be making sustainable choices.

“As the largest branded supplier of seafood products in Australia, John West is passionate about seafood and our oceans and is committed to safeguarding their future. Each can of John West tuna proudly displays its blue certification eco-label. The Marine Stewardship Council is the world’s leading certification program for wild-caught, sustainable seafood. Your choice of MSC-certified sustainable John West tuna helps contribute to a sustainable future for our oceans,” Saunders said.

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