Fisheries play a vital role in food security and global economies as well as social structures in coastal communities. With a growing recognition that individual livelihoods are heavily dependent on healthy fishery resources, more and more players in the fishing industry are making stronger commitments to sustainable fisheries management.
Icelandic cod: carrying the torch for sustainable seafood at the 2016 Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games
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.
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.
There has never been a more urgent time for seafood businesses and fishing nations to make a commitment to sustainability. The world’s oceans are in trouble, with marine life plummeting and the people who are dependent on the sea for income and food left increasingly vulnerable. Data shows populations of fish and other marine vertebrates, including marine mammals, reptiles and birds have halved since 1970.
Sweden’s Bothnian Bay vendace fishery, which produces the renowned Kalix löjrom (Caviar of Kalix), was MSC certified in June 2015. Fishing take place only five weeks a year, so I took the opportunity to visit the fishery in action during September. This was my first visit to a certified fishery, and I was amazed by the fishermen’s focus on sustainability.
The “red gold” Kalix löjrom is famous throughout Sweden and the Baltic region. Due to the uniqueness of its colour and flavour, the region’s special roe holds the status of Protected Designation of Origin (PDO), much like Champagne or Parma ham.