VITAFOODS 2017

Responsible fishing: Sustainably sourcing the marine’s treasure trove

By Will Chu

- Last updated on GMT

A growing demand for fully traceable sea-based products has placed the spotlight on the marine supply chain, encouraging retailers and manufacturers to further disclose their sourcing methods.

Ocean conservation has been a hot topic of late as the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) revealed late last year that $4.6bn (€4.2bn) was spent on 659,399 tonnes of sustainable seafood last year.

The organisation also identified a big growth area in MSC-certified supplements, in the form of fish oils rich in omega-3.

The oceans are not only a rich source of krill and fish. Manufacturers are increasingly looking to the seas as a treasure trove of ingredients such as seaweed and algae.

MSC-certification is perhaps regarded as the high-bar in the area, which also includes certification initiatives by the Friend of the Sea (FoS) and the Aquaculture Stewardship Council.

These standards are entirely voluntary with no formal EU procedures outlined for the industry as to what ‘sustainable’ and ‘responsible’ means.

Speaking at Vitafoods, Camiel Derichs, European regional director at the MSC commented that the process of setting these standards was a combination of inviting experts, scientists and managers amongst many to contribute in a public process to gain a full range of viewpoints and experiences.

“The three core principles centre on a healthy stock of which fishing pressures are kept below a certain threshold,”​ he said.  

“MSC also promote a healthy ecosystem and good management to ensure that health. The setting of those standards is a public process that is continually evolving and we invite all expertise to participate in.” 

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