The focus is on the planet on World Ocean Day

The focus is on the planet on World Ocean Day

Thursday 8 June 2023 marks the United Nation’s 15th World Ocean Day. The day was created in 2008 as a way to celebrate our world’s shared ocean and our personal connection to the sea. To mark World Ocean Day 2023, the Marine Stewardship Council created this list of ten incredible facts about food from the ocean.

1. ‘Super seafood’ is packedwith nutrients

Seafood is full of important nutrients, such as zinc, iron, vitamins A and B12 as well as omega-3 fatty acids all essential for human health.

Research has shown that, when consumed in seafood, these nutrients are better absorbed and utilized by the body than nutrients from vegetables and food supplements.

2. Wild seafood is a planet-friendly option

Wild capture fishing, when undertaken sustainably, has a lower environmental impact than land-based animal farming because it uses very little land or fresh water and doesn’t require feed or fertilisers.

3. Eating fish instead of meat can help to reduce carbon emissions

Eating wild caught seafood results in less than one tenth the amount of carbon dioxide associated with red meat. It also has a lower carbon footprint than cheese or chicken.

Certain seafoods, including small fish such as herring, mackerel and sprat have lower carbon emissions than rice and corn, while also being some of the most nutritious fish to eat.

4. There are thousands of different types of seafood to try

There are over 2,200 species of wild caught seafood and 600 farmed, yet most of us only regularly eat a small number of different fish. In South Africa, the 3 most popular types of seafood account for nearly three- quarters of all seafood consumption.

5. People have been eating fish for nearly 2 million years

The earliest definitive evidence of early humans eating aquatic animals dates back to 1.95 million years ago in Kenya. It was around this time that bigger-brained humans started to evolve.

6. Fish is the most globally traded food – more than sugar or coffee

Seafood is the most highly traded commodity in the global food system, with trade doubling in both quantity and value between 1998 and 2018.

The annual value of the international trade of seafood is USD$151 billion – worth more than five times the trade value of coffee and around US$30 billion more than sugar. This makes seafood essential to many national economies.

7. It’s not all about food – millions of people depend on fishing as a way of life

600 million people depend on seafood for employment. And it’s not just fishermen – more than half those working in the seafood sector are women. Fishing is also engrained in the culture of many coastal communities.

8. By fishing sustainably, we can actually catch more!

By taking care of the ocean and only fishing what it can provide, we can actually catch more fish. Ending overfishing could result in an increase in global annual seafood production by 16 million tonnes – enough to meet the protein needs of an additional 72 million people per year.

9. Globally people are eating more fish

Global demand for seafood is expected to double by 2050. To meet this increasing demand and feed a growing global population, governments must support and recognise fisheries that are managing the ocean sustainably, and support sustainable aquaculture.

10. By buying seafood with the MSC blue label, such as trawl-caught South African hake, you support responsible fishers and help to ensure an ocean full of life and delicious seafood for future generations to enjoy.

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