SYDNEY, June 7, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- To mark World Ocean Day, new figures from the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) show that ending overfishing could help protect both people and planet by providing essential nutrients that help prevent serious and life-threatening health conditions experienced by millions of Aussies.
The not-for-profit's analysis found that globally, 38 million people are missing out on healthy levels of essential Omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA), which are mainly found in seafood and could have their daily requirements met if the ocean was fished more sustainably. This could help reduce deaths from heart disease and strokes, Australia's first and third biggest underlying causes of death.
Currently, the Australian public doesn't eat enough fish and seafood. Data from a YouGov survey of Australian consumers commissioned by the MSC shows that over half of Australian adults (55%) eat less than the government's recommended guideline to eat seafood twice a week or more.
Anne Gabriel, MSC's Oceania Program Director, said: "If more fisheries are managed sustainably, we can ensure that Aussies can continue to consume seafood in the longer term while keeping our ocean thriving with life and diversity at the same time. We know from research that most Aussies want to choose food that is both good for them and the environment, emphasising the importance of raising collective awareness and education on sustainable seafood.
Over half of the wild-caught fish in Australia are MSC certified across a wide range of species due to the impressive commitment from local fisheries and communities such as the Western Australia Rock Lobster, Goolwa Pipis, Fremantle Octopus, and the Northern Prawn Fisheries' Banana Prawns, to name a few. Whether imported or local, Aussies can ensure they are making the right choice both for themselves and the environment simply by looking for the MSC blue fish tick label."
With more than a third of the world's fish stocks now fished beyond their sustainable limits, the MSC stresses the importance of eating certified sustainable seafood as a way not only to ensure the nutritional benefits of increased catches are realised but also to protect vital ocean ecosystems.
In Australia, around 12 per cent of women, eight per cent of pre-school-aged children, and 20 per cent of people over 85 years suffer from B12 deficiency, leading to poor memory, fatigue and cognitive impairment.