1 in 3 Canadians Fear Their Favourite Fish Won't Be Available In 20 Years and Are Willing to Act Now

A new survey reveals the majority of Canadians see sustainable seafood as a way to protect the ocean and safeguard fish and seafood stocks

TORONTO, June 8, 2020 /CNW/ - According to a recent survey for the Marine Stewardship Council, the health of the ocean is driving a wave of concern among Canadian consumers and it is influencing their buying habits.

The survey, conducted by independent insights consultancy, GlobeScan, reveals that half (56%) of Canadian seafood shoppers have already made changes to the way they choose to buy seafood in the last year in order to protect fish and seafood in the ocean.

The ways that concerned consumers are choosing to 'vote with their forks' include switching to brands or products that help protect the ocean or fish (22%), buying different seafood species (16%) and changing where they buy seafood (13%). Eight in 10 seafood consumers (82%) are willing to take further action with the majority of Canadians (74%) calling on grocery stores to remove all unsustainable fish and seafood products from their shelves.

What may be fuelling this consumer activism is the worry held by nearly 1 in 3 (31%) Canadians that their favourite fish like salmon (31%), shrimp/prawns (15%), lobster(13%), tuna (9%), and cod (7%) will not be available to eat in the next 20 years. In addition, the survey shows a higher proportion of 18-24 year olds (42%) fear their favourite fish may be off the menu by 2040 compared to people 55 and older (25%).

The good news is Canadian seafood consumers know sustainable seafood is important. Six in 10 (62%) respondents are aware that choosing sustainable seafood does make a difference to the health of the ocean and that to save the ocean, the fish and seafood we eat should be from sustainable sources only (61%). Despite this, only 26% of Canadian seafood consumers notice ecolabels--such as the MSC blue fish label--while grocery shopping which is significantly less than the global average (41%).

Oceans contain up to 80% of life on earth (1), with seafood providing an important source of protein to more than 3 billion people across the world (2). However, a third of fisheries around the world have been fished beyond sustainable limits, and a further 60% are fished to their maximum capacity (3).

June 8(th) marks World Oceans Day and in efforts to help Canadian seafood lovers protect the ocean and conserve fish and seafood stocks for future generations to enjoy, the independent, not-for-profit Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is launching a new campaign called Little Blue Label, Big Blue Future. Through this campaign Canadians can learn about the MSC blue fish label that indicates certified wild, sustainable, and traceable seafood.

The MSC runs the only wild-capture fisheries certification and ecolabeling program that meets best practice requirements set by both the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization and ISEAL, the global membership association for sustainability standards. Canadians looking to cast a vote for ocean health can trust that products sold with the MSC blue fish label come from a sustainable wild-catch fishery that has been independently certified to the MSC standard and that it is fully traceable to a sustainable source.

Brian Perkins, Regional Director Americas at the Marine Stewardship Council said: "Right now we are at a turning point to be able to give the next generation a healthy ocean with an abundance of marine life, but it depends on what we all do now.

Canadians are aware of the number of stressors that impact the ocean like overfishing, ocean pollution and climate change. This survey shows they want to make a meaningful difference by supporting fish and seafood products that are sustainably sourced.

What we choose to put on our plates today will impact the future health of the ocean. All of us have a role to play. From the fisheries that are committed to sustainable practices that allow fish populations and the ecosystems they depend on to remain healthy, to Canadians who choose sustainably sourced fish and seafood by looking for the MSC blue fish label at grocery stores and restaurants."

Notes to editors

Monday 8 June 2020 is World Oceans Day, observed in 140 countries to drive collaboration to safeguard our oceans. To support this effort, the MSC has launched a new global campaign: 'Big blue future, little blue label'.


              (1)            An estimated 50-80% of all animal
                                         life on earth is found under the
                                         ocean surface. More detail can be
                                         found in PNAS  115 (25) 6506

              (2)            According to the United nation
                                         Food and Agriculture
                                         Organisation, fish provide about
                                         3.2 billion people with almost 20
                                         percent of their average per
                                         capita intake of animal protein -
                                         (UNFAO 2018) SOFIA Report, p70

              (3)            According to the United Nation's
                                         Food and Agriculture
                                         Organisation, 33% of the world's
                                         fish stocks are currently
                                         overfished, with this figure
                                         increasing consistently since
                                         1974. 60% are fished to their
                                         maximum capacity

About the Marine Stewardship Council

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is an international non-profit organization. Our vision is for the world's oceans to be teeming with life, and seafood supplies safeguarded for this and future generations. Our blue label and certification program recognizes and rewards sustainable fishing practices and is helping create a more sustainable seafood market. More than 370 fisheries in over 36 countries are certified to the MSC's Standard. These fisheries have a combined annual seafood production of over eleven million metric tons, representing almost 15% of global marine catch. More than 38,000 seafood products worldwide carry the MSC label. For more information visit msc.org/en-us/ and follow @MSCBlueFish on social media.

About the survey

The survey uses the latest methodologies, sampling and question wording, developed by independent insights and strategy consultancy, GlobeScan.

The survey was carried out between January and March 2020 using large and reliable national consumer research online panels to recruit respondents, with a minimum of 600 seafood consumers surveyed per country.

Respondents came from 23 counties: Canada, Australia, Austria, Belgium, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK and USA.

The main sample of seafood consumers comprised a total of 20,876 respondents who said they or someone in their household had purchased fish or seafood in the last two months.

SOURCE Marine Stewardship Council