Thursday, December 10, 2009

Deeper levels of looking at sustainable seafood

I attended a panel presentation this week at the Alaska Young Fishermen's Summit, hosted by the Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program. The panelists discussed the concept of sustainability, with much of the focus on the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) eco-label, and how many seafood marketers feel compelled to adopt the MSC label because of the threat of lost revenues if they do not carry the trademark. 

While eco-labeling is important, and nobody can honestly deny that sustainable fisheries should not be the gold standard for seafood purchases, it seems like the broader implications of sustainability are left out of the discussion. 

I think that marketing executives often do not given enough credit to the savvy consumers who pay attention to such details as biodegradeability of packaging, product lifecycle, how much waste is generate in the production of a process, and the carbon footprint associated with a certain product form.  Additionally, there is another aspect of sustainability - economic sustainability.  How does your seafood purchase help to ensure that the community where that product came from will benefit enough economically from the industry to sustain itself into the future? 

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