MSC, ASC sustainable seafood week in France urges consumers to eat responsibly

A joint campaign in France run by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) and the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), has just landed the two organizations a Grand Prix Award for Social Responsibility. It was presented during a ceremony in Paris at PRODURABLE, the fair for Sustainable Development and Corporate Social Responsibly.

The prize was awarded for “Semaine de la Peche Responsible” (Sustainable Seafood Week), which was first run in February 2017 and has since become an annual event. 

The week of activities highlighted issues including overfishing, illegal fishing, and the importance of safeguarding marine biodiversity and habitats, and fish stocks for future generations. The event has been growing quickly in both size and public profile in recent years.

In competition with 48 other brands, the ASC and MSC were joint winners of the best NGO label category, in recognition of their collaborative efforts with partners, brands, aquariums, institutions and distributors, to mobilize public support for sustainable fisheries and responsible fish farming. 

The award was shared with French retailer Carrefour, which won for its support of programs to find permanent living solutions for the homeless.

“I’m delighted that we were awarded the Grand Prix for our joint campaign with MSC in France. It is a tremendous achievement,” ASC Commercial Director Esther Luiten told SeafoodSource. “Engaging with partners and consumers is key. The Semaine de le Peche Responsable campaign is an excellent opportunity for us to inform consumers about responsible aquaculture and to let them know that by choosing ASC-labeled seafood they have a quick and easy way to identify products that help protect the environment and care for workers and local communities.”

Seafood is the main source of protein for three billion people around the world, and the French are enthusiastic consumers, eating approximately 35 kilograms of fish and shellfish per year. 

Campaign publicity urged shoppers to recognize that there is still time to act to preserve the aquatic environment if they mobilize together and ensure their purchases come from sustainable sources. With 33.1 percent of global fish stocks considered by the FAO to be overexploited, 78 percent of fish stocks in the Mediterranean classed as overexploited, and 66.9 percent of global stocks exploited to their maximum level, urgent action is needed, according to the campaign.

In addition to in-store promotions and tastings, restaurant special offers, and organized events around the country, the week of celebration was widely publicized online through social media as well as in print, and on radio and television. There was a particular focus on seminars and activities for students.

An interactive conference hosted by MSC and ASC at the Tropical Aquarium of the Palais de la Porte Dorée in Paris saw ocean conservation, fishing, and aquaculture experts invite questions from a large audience about all aspects of the sustainable seafood industry.

Other activities at the aquarium included a spinning wheel presenting information on 10 marine species, including sardine, tuna, shrimp and salmon (the most popular types of seafood in France), a guided tour that focussed on species grown in aquaculture, and a set of activities and games that enabled children to discover marine species and ecosystems and the need to protect them. 

A national competition encouraged children to create their own seafood hero adventure to win a personalised children’s book.

Mr. Goodfish, the European program that publishes online seasonal lists of sustainable seafood, stepped up its own activity during the promotional week by offering recipes from high-profile chefs. On its website, it published a special bulletin showing how, if each French person ate a species on the Mr. Goodfish recommended list once per year in place of an unsustainable fish, then 18,000 metric tons of threatened species could be saved annually.

“MSC, ASC and all of our partners commit to seafood sustainability all year-round, but our annual activity helps to focus the minds of consumers about the urgency of making the right purchasing choices to help preserve aquatic environments and the wider environment,” said Jean Charles Pentecouteau, program director MSC France. 

Work is already underway to plan next year’s Semaine de la Peche Responsible, with the aim of achieving an even greater impact, according to organizers.


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