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KNOWLEDGE FOR POLICY

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Publication | 23 April 2019

Sustainable “Seafood” Ecolabeling and Awareness Initiatives in the Context of Inland Fisheries: Increasing Food Security and Protecting Ecosystems

Global Food and Nutrition Security

The sustainable seafood movement has adopted a variety of certification and ecolabeling systems, as well as seafood-awareness campaigns, to influence industry and help consumers make informed decisions regarding their seafood consumption. However, a review of these programs revealed that the majority are focused on marine and coastal fisheries. Globally, freshwaters and their fish assemblages represent some of the most threatened systems and taxa because of multiple anthropogenic stressors. There is an urgent need to harness the momentum of the sustainable seafood movement for marine systems to benefit all aquatic systems, including freshwater. Moreover, given that freshwater systems are at particular risk in developing countries in which small-scale fisheries dominate, it is essential to expand awareness campaigns, through grassroots initiatives that differ significantly from current awareness campaigns that are global in focus, involve industrialized large-scale fisheries, and assume significant exports of seafood. Addressing the limitations of marine campaigns is a logical first step before launching new programs aimed at inland fisheries. In the long term, failure of the sustainable seafood movement to incorporate freshwater fisheries will lead to public perception that these fisheries are not in peril and may allow unsustainable practices to continue.