Collective power of consumers & businesses: Key to drive sustainable seafood movement
“The increasing interest in the sustainable seafood movement in the country underscores the fact that regular consumers as well as businesses – small and big, can directly impact environmentally unfriendly fishing practices in the country. We need a new breed of forward- thinking ocean advocates at all levels of the supply chain,” said WWF-Malaysia’s Executive Director/CEO, Dato’ Dr Dionysius Sharma.
Dr Sharma also said that when enough customers speak up for the oceans by choosing sustainable seafood, businesses will realize that sustainable purchases matter and will adjust their supply chain to meet the demand. Similarly, businesses can help educate the masses by offering more sustainable seafood alternatives and step up as agents of change in the marketplace.
He added, “Better-informed customers mean businesses can make long-term investments that are both good for their bottom line and for the health of our oceans.”
The country’s fishing industry is valued at more than RM10 billion with more than 200,000 Malaysians depending on the industry for their livelihood. Malaysians are the biggest consumers of seafood in Southeast Asia, with an average individual consuming about 52 kilograms of seafood per year. Total demand for fish is expected to rise to 1.68 billion kilograms by 2020 (FAO 2013).
Between 1971 and 2007, the country has lost almost 92% of its fishery resources and it will be running out of seafood by 2048 if consumption patterns do not change. If the current decline in fish stocks continues, Malaysians will not be able to consume locally-caught seafood for long.
To further educate and promote sustainable seafood amongst members of the public, the Save Our Seafood (S.O.S) Campaign by WWF-Malaysia in partnership with the Marine Stewardship Council WWF-Malaysia held the first regional Sustainable Seafood Festival (SSF) from 7 t0 8 June 2014 at The Intermark, Kuala Lumpur. The festival is also held in Indonesia, Japan and Singapore as part of WWF’s ongoing initiative to raise awareness on the global decline of fish stocks and to collaborate with the government, businesses and local communities toward achieving sustainable fisheries management.
Themed ‘Hooked on Sustainable Seafood for a Healthy Ocean’, the festival is held in conjunction with the World Oceans Day and the Coral Triangle Day. It features live cooking demonstrations, exhibitions, a seafood mascot design competition, an Art Jam and an array of other exciting activities for members of the public.
Dr Sharma said, “WWF-Malaysia is pleased to announce that DoubleTree by Hilton Kuala Lumpur, Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur, Hilton Petaling Jaya and Hilton Kuala Lumpur have joined as SSF partners. These leading hotels are supporting Marine Stewardship Council and Aquaculture Stewardship Council-certified products through a Sustainable Seafood Menu promotion at their respective outlets from 1 – 30 June as well as not serving the red-listed species in our S.O.S guide during this period.”
WWF-Malaysia aims to secure commitments from retailers, hotels and restaurants to phase out red-listed seafood from their counters and menus and support certified products. In line with the objective of the S.O.S 2.0 campaign which was launched last year, WWF-Malaysia will continue to drive market transformation toward sustainable seafood sourcing by business and industry players.
For more information on the Sustainable Seafood Festival 2014 and the S.O.S Campaign, please visit www.saveourseafood.my.
WWF-Malaysia (World Wide Fund for Nature-Malaysia) was established in Malaysia in 1972. It currently runs more than 90 projects covering a diverse range of environmental conservation and protection work, from saving endangered species such as tigers and turtles, to protecting our highland forests, rivers and seas. The national conservation organization also undertakes environmental education and advocacy work to achieve its conservation goals. Its mission is to stop the degradation of the earth’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the nation’s biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption. For latest news and media resources, visit http://www.wwf.org.my/media_and_information/media_centre/
For further information:
Nadiah Rosli, Communications Officer, Peninsular Malaysia Seas Programme, WWF-Malaysia
Tel: +603 7450 3773 (ext 6319), Email: email@example.com
Yeoh Lin Lin, Head of Communications, WWF-Malaysia
Tel: +603 7450 3773, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org