Best of the Food Web: Marine Stewardship Council

Every other week we will be posting about a new blog or cooking website that we love! The internet is filled with food websites, and our goal is to arm you with the “Best of the Food Web”!

By Ellie Schulman, Film and Television student, College of Communication

I’m not going to lie to you, I’m not a huge fan of seafood. However, I am a fan of acting in ways that don’t waste natural resources or harm the environment. So even though the thought of eating fish doesn’t drive me crazy with desire, I’m going to share a cool website with you all that has to do with seafood—specifically, sustainable seafood.

If you’ve never heard of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) it’s probably because it’s a London based organization, and—just an educated guess—I’m betting you’re an American between the ages of 18-23. Your lack of knowledge about the MSC might also have to do with the fact that there isn’t much information about the history of the organization itself available anywhere on the internet besides that it was founded in London in the late 1990s (seriously, MSC! I spent a good 30 minutes trying to learn about your history to write this post, to little success). In any event, the MSC does good work in the fishing industry. Its goal is to make sustainable seafood more available to the world by making the sustainable options easier to recognize.

Have you ever seen this label before?

It means the fishery that your seafood came from has been certified by the MSC because it meets MSC standards. What are those standards, you might ask? Here are the three basic principles they base fishery certification on:

  • “Principle 1: Sustainable fish stocks”
    • Basically, make sure the fishery isn’t overfishing.
  • “Principle 2: Minimizing environmental impact”
    • Make sure they don’t harm the ecosystem in the process of fishing.
  • “Principle 3: Effective management”
    • Make sure they are effectively managed to uphold sustainability and adhere to all fishing laws.

Each principle is built upon a long set of more detailed measurements, but who has time to go into all that (I mean really, I already wasted 30 minutes just trying to figure out when the MSC expanded into the U.S…). If you really want to know more about their certification process, check it out here.

One of the cooler aspects of the MSC is that it’s a global organization. There are 200 fisheries around the world already certified by MSC, and you can find MSC certified products in 97 different countries.

I’m sure all my fellow sustainability-lovers find this post riveting so far, but for those of you who have stuck around even though you really couldn’t care less about maintaining the world’s current fish population, I’m going to talk about a cool website application now, so keep sticking around.

Let’s say it’s three in the afternoon and you’re thinking you want seafood for dinner. You know you’re going to have to stop by Shaw’s on your way home from work anyway because you forgot to pick up a new tube of toothpaste yesterday–for the third day in a row–so you might as well pick up some dinner fixins while you’re there. BUT WAIT! How will you know that your seafood was fished humanely?! (Because you totally think about this every time you buy seafood…). You can hop over to the MSC website and check what products are available at Shaw’s that have been MSC approved!

Just hover over the “Where to Buy” tab and click on “Shopping: Sustainable Seafood Product Finder.” Enter your country and hit go. Then, on the left hand side, choose a retailer or brand, what type of fish, and what type of product. So if I choose “Shaw’s” as my retailer, “cod” and “haddock” as my type of fish because I’m indecisive, and “Fish counter” as my product type, then the finder will show me that I have four options for MSC certified fish with the specifications that I listed.

Pretty cool right?

Make sure you check out their website for yourself to learn more about sustainable seafood, about where to get it, and about the great work MSC is up to. Stay up to date by checking out their social media.




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