The Olympic and Paralympic Games present a great opportunity to forge positive links between sport and the environment. This year, as part of a commitment to sustainability, 100% of the cod served to athletes in the Olympic and Paralympic Village came from Visir, a family-run fishing business in Grindavik, south west Iceland.
Icelandic cod: carrying the torch for sustainable seafood at the 2016 Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games
Before joining the MSC in February 2016, I spent 3 and a bit years working for the UK government as fishery manager. One of my roles was to assess the impacts that different fishing techniques have on protected marine environments. As with many elements of fisheries management, the answer to the question: “Which fishing method is most environmentally-sound?” isn’t as simple as it may seem.
Healthy tuna populations are essential to thriving oceans and fishing economies as well as being an important source of food. Tuna are among the most commercially valuable fish on the planet, providing livelihoods for artisanal fishing communities through to supporting large multinational companies. As such, protecting tuna populations and ensuring that they are fished in a sustainable way, is a global conservation and development priority.
Seafood is well known as a source of healthy oils and nutrients. Studies show that fish oils are good for your heart, brain and bones. Some claim that they can protect you from the effects of air pollution and reduce the signs of aging .
For many, eating certified sustainable fish as part of a balanced diet is an effective way of ensuring that we receive the nutrients, protein and oils we need. But there’s also a growing preference to supplement diet with fish based products in the form of Omega-3 rich fish oils.
In Australia, there’s been a marked shift in the seafood industry. Now, it’s absolutely clear to the supply chain and the retailers that consumers want to know more about what they’re buying. They might not always choose certified goods at the counter, but they want to know whether their products are sourced responsibly, where they come from – and that someone’s taking care of these things. That’s not just true of fish: a great deal of progress has been made in free range chicken eggs, pigs, and so on. For Australia’s food sector, sustainability has become part of doing business.