Walton Family Foundation poll finds Americans want sustainable seafood

A display of seafood at Seafood Expo Global in Barcelona, Spain.

A new poll commissioned by the Walton Family Foundation has found that a majority of Americans want assurances that the seafood they’re eating is sustainable.

The poll, performed by Morning Consult, surveyed 2,210 adults nationally and found that consumers felt the sourcing and supply chain of meats and seafoods is important. According to the survey, 72 percent of consumers support increasing the traceability of seafood, and sustainability was the second-most important factor in purchasing seafood – behind only price.

“The challenges of climate change intersect with building resilient food systems in our world’s oceans,” Walton Family Foundation Environment Program Director Moira Mcdonald said in a release. “At the Walton Family Foundation, we focus on sustainable seafood because we know that when you take care of the fish, you’re necessarily taking care of everything else that matters in the ocean. So, that means being smart about how much we fish, what we fish and where we fish.”

The survey also found that consumers say supply chain information is important, with 65 percent of seafood or meat consumers saying the country of processing is important, and 61 percent said that the country of origin of meat and seafood is important when deciding whether or not to purchase something.

Focusing on just seafood, labor issues and illegal fishing were also important considerations, the survey found. Almost two-thirds of consumers, or 60 percent, said they would be less likely to purchase seafood if slave labor was involved, and 58 percent said they would be less likely to buy it if there was illegal fishing involved.

Consumers also indicated they would be more confident purchasing something if they knew it had a traceability program to avoid human rights abuses, with 65 percent saying they would be more confident and only 5 percent saying they would be less confident. The survey also found that 78 percent of consumer respondents felt it was the grocery store or restaurant’s responsibility to check the sourcing of the food being sold.

“Americans want to know where the seafood they eat comes from and that responsible fishing practices are being used,” Mcdonald said. “We need industry and government to work together to strengthen our systems so that fishers who are doing the right thing are not at a competitive disadvantage.” 

The survey was performed and released just before World Oceans Day on 8 June, a date designated by the United Nations that features events around the world.

“Released ahead of World Oceans Day, this new data shows near-universal agreement on the need to protect the oceans, and that Americans are committed to sustainable seafood as a means of keeping the oceans’ fragile ecosystem in balance,” a Walton Family Foundation press release said.  

Photo by Jennifer Finn/SeafoodSource


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