Brussels – A new report and seafood-buying guide released today by Food & Water Europe shows that consumers can’t always rely on labels if they want to buy sustainably. In fact, determining which seafood products are best for you and our planet can be a difficult job. A number of private fish certification programs boast reliable standards and labels to evaluate and market seafood as “environmentally friendly” or “sustainably produced”, but what they don’t tell you is at least as important as what they do, and that’s where things get tricky for conscientious shoppers.
The new report De-Coding Seafood Eco-Labels: Why We Need Public Standards compares and contrasts existing private certifications including those of The Marine Stewardship Council, Global Aquaculture Alliance, and Friends of the Sea. It finds that a lack of meaningful official labelling standards has allowed private eco-labels to capture large portions of the market, but that these are not adequate indicators of sustainable seafood choices for consumers, restaurants or retailers, and in fact can contradict one another.