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
“Sustainable fishing” may sound simple, but measuring whether or not a fishing operation is sustainable is actually quite complex, requiring plenty of research and data.
Fisheries scientists dedicate their time to studying how fishing can be balanced so as to allow aquatic species to maintain thriving populations, in a dynamically fluctuating and changing environment. Decades of research and managers’ experiences, trying to apply scientific advice on the ground, have shaped current practices in monitoring and managing fisheries sustainably.
Recent independent market research shows that globally 63% of seafood consumers look for ecolabels for a trusted source of information. The MSC has earned this trust. Since our formation in 1997, we have developed the world’s most recognised certification and ecolabelling program for sustainable wild-caught seafood.
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.
When you look at a piece of meat, or a piece of fish, it’s often difficult to tell what species it is. Turn it into a pie or a fish cake and the difficult becomes the impossible. That’s where DNA testing helps. With a sample half a centimetre wide dropped into a little tube of preservative, you can find out if your fish is what the packet says, or if it is something else. It’s not even very expensive.