MSC debuts “Little Blue Label, Big Blue Future” campaign for World Oceans Day 2020

Published on
June 8, 2020

World Oceans Day 2020 has been busy for the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), which kicked off its eight-week “Little Blue Label, Big Blue Future” campaign on 8 June to honor the United Nations-observed festivity. 

The new MSC campaign, which consists of aspirational messages and a video at launch, will run the duration of National Oceans Month in the U.S., the nonprofit said, and demonstrates “how daily decisions as simple as meal planning impact the ocean and its inhabitants.” Posts for the campaign can be found on social media by searching the “#BigBlueFuture” hashtag. 

Vital Choice Wild Seafood & Organics has partnered with the MSC on the campaign, through product donations and outreach efforts to help spread awareness. The home delivery company – which sources wild Alaskan seafood, whole-food supplements, and organic fare – said it joined the MSC campaign to support “the crucial role sustainable seafood plays in ensuring a healthy ocean and planet,” a core value of the business.

“Our mission has always been to connect consumers who are passionate about health – their own and the ocean’s – with the fishing fleets that are good stewards of the sea,” Vital Choice Wild Seafood and Organics Vice President of Marketing and Sales Shalini Nilakantan said. “Our partnership with MSC is evidence our customers can trust that we take our responsibility seriously.” 

Several Vital Choice offerings bear the MSC’s blue ecolabel, including its canned SkipJack Tuna; its Wild Red Canned Alaskan Salmon and Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon Oil; its Pouched Alaskan Sockeye Salmon; its Silver and King Salmon Portions; its Whole Alaskan Sockeye Salmon Fillet; and its smoked Alaskan sockeye and king salmon products.

New research conducted on behalf of the MSC showed high levels of concern for oceans among consumers, which has been driving modern activism in the space.

Consumers are “voting with their forks” at an increasing rate in an effort to safeguard oceans, the MSC said, referencing a recent survey it commissioned from independent research and strategy consultancy, GlobeScan. According to the survey, which included over 20,000 people across 23 countries, 65 percent of Americans believe supermarkets should remove all unsustainable fish and seafood products from their shelves. 

Consumers’ passion for planet preservation has reached a new level, MSC Regional Director for the Americas Brian Perkins noted.

“More than ever, we see an increased passion from consumers and companies alike to take steps that protect the ocean, including choosing sustainable seafood,” Perkins said in a press release. “The MSC has been on a mission to end overfishing for more than 20 years. In honor of World Oceans Day and National Oceans Month this year, we’re asking Americans to keep our ocean healthy for future generations by shopping sustainably when buying seafood and other products. The little choices we make have a big ripple effect.”

The study went on to find that 55 percent of the U.S. seafood consumers surveyed agreed that, to protect the world’s oceans, only seafood from sustainable sources should be consumed.

The climbing interest and advocacy seen among consumers when it comes to seafood is seen as a point of hope by Bart van Olphen, chef, author, sustainable fish advocate, and founder of the Fish Tales brand, especially as the world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“One of the bright spots of this current global crisis is that the interest and willingness from consumers to try fish from a can is an at an all-time high, and many canned products are MSC-certified sustainable options, too,” van Olphen said. “There are so many delicious meals and snacks to be made with the varieties of canned fish, and people all over the world are experimenting not only with canned tuna, but also sardines, mackerel and salmon. My advice as people continue to expand their tinned fish repertoire is to look for the MSC blue fish label across every fish variety."

The world’s oceans contain up to 80 percent of life on Earth, the MSC noted. A third of global fisheries, however, have been fished beyond sustainable limits, the non-profit certifier added, with a further 60 percent fished to their maximum capacity. The adoption of habits and practices that ensure the healthy longevity of oceans and seafood for the more than three billion people on the planet now, and for the generations to come, is “crucial,” the MSC said.

The world’s oceans and its people have a mutually impactful relationship, something that is particularly important to acknowledge on World Oceans Day, according to Gabby Petrelli, conservation action coordinator at Shedd Aquarium in Chicago and lead for Shedd’s Sustainable Seafood Program.

“Though some of us might live far from saltwater, our lives on land are intrinsically tied to our ocean through the choices we make, particularly when we’re choosing to eat seafood,” Petrelli said. “At Shedd Aquarium, we’re studying vulnerable fisheries in the Caribbean to help inform better management practices. Locally, we empower consumers and restaurants to make choices that keep the future of our big blue planet in mind and preserve the habitats of our beloved penguins, whales, and sharks in the wild.”

Observed in 140 countries around the globe, World Oceans Day seeks to “celebrate the role of the ocean in our everyday life and to inspire action to protect and sustainably use marine resources,” the MSC said.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s World Oceans Day has been defined by online outreach. For instance, in addition to its “Little Blue Label, Big Blue Future” digital campaign, the MSC is also joining family-owned Spanish multinational company Iberostar Group’s online conversation series “Riding the Wave.” Announced on 8 June, the series establishes “a digital space for NGOs and industry alike to discuss why responsible seafood consumption is critical to the wellbeing of our planet,” Iberostar explained in a release.

Via its Wave of Change social media channels, Iberostar will share conversations with speakers from The Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund (WWF), FishWise, Fishin’ Co, Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI), MSC, Fair Trade USA and Conservation International for the four-part “Riding the Wave” discussion series, the hotel chain operator said.  

Photo courtesy of the Marine Stewardship Council

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