« November 2008 Table of Contents
Point of View: Michael Sutton
VP & director, Center for the Future of the Oceans, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey, Calif.
November 01, 2008
Today, the world's marine fisheries are considered fished to
the limits of sustainability. Populations of large predators
such as sharks and swordfish have declined by 90 percent due to
unsustainable and destructive fishing practices.
Governments have been unable to reverse these trends through
public policy alone. Building powerful commercial incentives
for ocean conservation is one promising approach to improve
marine fishery management. The sustainable seafood movement
harnesses market forces and the power of consumer choice in
favor of sustainable fisheries.
Sustainable seafood programs show consumers how their
choices make a difference to the health of the oceans. Pocket
guides help consumers make better choices when shopping and
dining. Over the past seven years our Seafood Watch program has
distributed tens of millions of pocket guides and successfully
raised the salience of the issue among seafood lovers. More
detailed information is available for chefs and corporate
seafood buyers. All levels of the seafood supply chain are
involved: consumers, chefs, wholesalers, retailers, culinary
school faculty and students and foodservice providers.
Large-volume seafood buyers have committed to sourcing their
seafood only from sustainable fisheries, and more companies are
signing up every day. The biggest challenge facing the movement
is to ensure that supplies of sustainable seafood meet the
growing demand. To that end, the Marine Stewardship Council is
ramping up the pace of assessments that may lead to certified
sustainable fisheries. Only by working together can we can
transform the seafood industry so that sustainable fisheries
become the new commercial norm.