Some of the seafood on your plate has a devastating environmental price tag.
Industrial fishing now has a wide and damaging environmental footprint in the seas around Scotland and the UK. Scallop dredging routinely rakes the seabed around our coasts, degrading marine habitats. Bottom-trawling for prawns, often sold as scampi, intensively sweeps huge areas of seafloor, undermining marine carbon stores and wastefully catching and discarding lots of young fish. In combination the two are driving a downward spiral in our marine environment, undermining recovery of fish populations and disadvantaging other fisheries. The seafood industry knows about these problems and yet continues to delay urgent action to play their part in solving them.
Many of these fisheries are rated as unsustainable. Schemes called Fishery Improvement Projects have been set up to address these issues with the support of the Marine Stewardship Council. However, these have yet to prevent environmental harm in our seas and damage to seabed habitats and other fisheries continues, sometimes illegally. These projects are spending a lot of time talking around the problem, instead of taking action. In the meantime businesses such as Marks and Spencer, Youngs Seafood and Tesco claim that their involvement in the projects mean their sourcing is responsible. We think this is the very definition of greenwash.
Responsible sourcing means buying from responsible sources, ensuring that a business’ products do not come from environmentally harmful sources and is not funding damage. It is not something you do next year or the year after, once problems within your supply chain have been sorted out. It’s something that responsible businesses should act on and embed into their buying decisions today.
After a long time trying to encourage the seafood industry to take leadership and action (read our extended blog), we think it is now time to publicly call on these businesses to do the right thing and end seafood greenwash. Many companies will not act unless their boards of directors know the public – ie their customers – are watching and care about the implications of their buying decisions.
As a consumer you can also take other actions, by choosing to eat more sustainable fish and avoiding some of the most environmentally damaging seafood that is sourced irresponsibly from our seas. Until the problems are sorted out we are urging people to stop buying dredge-caught scallops and scampi from bottom-trawls. #EndSeafoodGreenwash.