People & Planet
What is a fishery?
The word “fishery” describes multiple things: it is the geographic location where a particular species of fish is caught; it also refers to the fish that make up that stock; it also encompasses the economic activity within it—the fishers and industry players who earn their livelihood catching and selling that particular species in that particular location.
So, given all of that, what do we mean when we say a fishery is “sustainable?” In a nutshell, (or is that a seashell?) it means that there are plenty of fish in the fishery and the ways they are being caught don’t destroy habitat, or threaten their future existence. For us, ‘sustainability’ also comprises the health and welfare of fishing communities: People AND Planet.
There’s a formal system that certifies whether a fishery is sustainable, run by the Marine Stewardship Council. Currently, 15% of the world’s fish is sustainable, as certified by MSC. The remaining fisheries are either overfished, or they have never been assessed. There are thousands of fisheries in the world!
Assessment is expensive and requires both good data—how many fish are caught, at what size, in what season, etc.—and good rules and enforcement. Many developing countries cannot afford to gather data, or they have weak governance structures in place. To learn more about what Fresh Seas Market and your purchase here does to support those fisheries in becoming sustainable, watch the video below.