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Stream and mountains

Sustainable Fishing – What’s Up With That? #1

Updated: Sep 9, 2018

Isabella Davey, Year 12 (Editor in Chief).

In the 2017/18 school holidays I participated in my regular volunteering at Taronga Zoo as a part of the Youth at the Zoo program, including the season’s campaign. Here is what I got up to:

What is Sustainable Seafood?

Sustainable seafood is that which is caught in the wild or farmed in aquaculture. There are several requirements for wild-caught seafood to be considered ‘sustainable’ including:

  • Being sourced from an abundant fish stock, so that it is not leading a species into extinction via overfishing a certain area containing less in volume

  • Fishing methods do not damage the existing ocean habitats

  • By-catch (non-target species) are not collected in large quantities

  • Responsible management systems are in place

  • Similarly, ‘sustainably’ farmed seafood must:

  • Be grown in aquaculture systems

  • Not destroy habitat, in both building and expanding a farm

  • Depend on overfished wild-caught fisheries as feed

What is the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)?

The Marine Stewardship Council are focused on conserving our oceans through sustainable fishing. With almost 90% of the world’s fish stocks depleted as a result of issues such as overfishing, the world’s leading independent certification and eco-labelling scheme for wild-caught seafood aim to educate individuals and communities worldwide to actively seek to eradicate unsustainable fishing methods via the purchase of MSC certified products.

In order to receive certification, fisheries must demonstrate:

  • Targeted stocks are healthy

  • Fishing practices = minimal impact on marine eco-system

  • Fishery well managed

Where can you find MSC seafood?


o Deli: banana prawns; ASC certified salmon

o Frozen: variety of Hoki, whiting and cod as fillet and fish fingers

o Canned: John West Tuna; Alaskan Salmon


o Frozen: variety of Hoki, whiting and cod as fillet and fish fingers

o Canned: John West tuna; Alaskan Salmon

  • IKEA

o Restaurant: MSC hoki; ASC salmon

o Food store: frozen cold water shrimp; variety of herring and fish paste

  • ALDI

o Canned: mussels; herring; mackeral; salmon

o Frozen: hoki; Pollack; sole; flounder

  • Taronga Zoo

o MSC certified hoki at Sydney and Western Plains Zoos

A Taronga Zoo Campaign:

Taronga Zoo constantly vouches “For the Wild” through conservation initiatives and campaigns, educating visitors of the general public about derogating issues that currently exist within the wild. The school summer holiday campaign for 2017/2018 was titled ‘Ocean Heroes’, consisting of an interactive game for an all-important temporary tattoo.

Although throwing a toy seal onto a BBQ with wooden spheres (decorated with prawns) is more of a feat of accuracy than conservation awareness, guessing whether a fact underneath the prawn is true or false encourages both the children partaking to receive a temporary tattoo for their participation, and all zoo visitors to learn facts about sustainable fishing and how they can contribute the conserving our oceans and marine life. Accompanied by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) logo, the temporary tattoo states “Forever Wild / Choose the Blue Fish”, calling for zoo visitors to buy MSC certified seafood.

Additionally, we handed out prawn recipes by Sam Gooding which featured MSC certified Banana Prawns. Being both simple and easy for anyone to make, the recipe was far-reaching across the consumer market with a link to an online website with more recipes that may be more appropriate. Targeted at adults, this recipe was somewhat popular but not a very effective way to campaign for sustainable seafood. Personally, I collect handouts from people out of empathy, for it is well known that the general public usually try to avoid them. Hence, although considered an effective means to hit the target market, we didn’t seem to distribute many of these pamphlets.

Possibly the most effective yet subliminal, the Moby (newest seal pup) headbands proved to be popular with the children and the children at heart alike. Branded with the statement “I choose MSC for Moby”, the headbands surely reined the zoo, resting on almost every head the day I was involved in the campaign.

The downside to the entire campaign, the headbands, the prawn recipes, and even the toy throwing (in particular the tattoos), is the mass production of litter and waste. Both plastic and paper or cardboard was used in plentiful amounts. Although it is against the Ecology-Centred school that is Loreto Normanhurst, these methods seem to be effective in the somewhat commercialised organisation that is Taronga Zoo Sydney.

What We Can Do:

  • Choose seafood products displaying the MSC eco-label

  • AVOID PLASTIC – always pack your own reusable bag

  • Put your rubbish in the bin and pick up rubbish even it is not yours; RECYCLE where possible

  • Reduce your CARBON FOOTPRINT to help oceans – take public transport, turn off the lights when not needed, and turn off appliances at the wall

  • Grow or buy ORGANIC products farmed with methods which do not use chemicals or fertilisers that can be dangerous for our oceans

  • Don't purchase items that exploit marine life, such as coral and shell jewellery

  • DONATE your time to SUPPORT organisations and local associations that are fighting to protect marine life and our oceans

  • SPREAD the world -- tell your friends and family what you've learnt and how to make a difference

A Recap:


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