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Canadians support a change in seafood consumption habits in the name of sustainability

A new MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) survey of seafood consumers shows Canadians are well tuned into the issues surrounding seafood sustainability, indicating we should be willing to switch to more sustainable options and that traceability and third-party verification of sustainability claims are also important to them. Findings also show 68 per cent of Canadians agree sustainability claims need to be clearly labelled by an independent organization, while 69 per cent said they would switch to another type of fish if it is more sustainable.

While this is good news for the health of our oceans, the survey also indicates that looking for ecolabels on seafood products — labels that indicate independent verification of sustainability and with MSC, traceability — requires further education to become more a part of the consumer consciousness. In fact 61 per cent of those surveyed admit that while sustainability is important, they don’t notice ecolabels on products when shopping. At the same time, 52 per cent agree that ecolabels set the highest standard for environmentally responsible fishing.

“These insights demonstrate that seafood consumers are attuned to what’s at stake for the health of our oceans, but there is still a gap to fill in helping empower them to make sustainable choices,” says Jay Lugar, program director for MSC, Canada. “The MSC is committed to working with our partners to raise awareness and help consumers look for the blue MSC label as a reliable trust mark for sustainable, traceable seafood.”

QUEBEC AND BRITISH COLUMBIA STAND OUT IN SUSTAINABILITY
On purchase motivators, Quebec and B.C. distinguish themselves by ranking sustainability above price, after more common primary motivators such as safety, health benefits, taste and freshness. This is in contrast to purchase motivations among shoppers of other fast-moving consumer goods (FMCGs), where price and brand typically outrank sustainability in driving purchase decisions.

Quebecers emerged as the most sustainably minded when it comes to seafood consumption, consistently scoring higher on all perceptions and attitudes toward sustainability, as well as in purchase of sustainable seafood (50 per cent claim to buy ecolabelled fish occasionally or as often as possible).
The consumer perceptions survey was carried out by the independent research and strategy consultancy company GlobeScan on behalf of the MSC and is the largest ever global analysis of more than 16,000 seafood consumers in 21 countries.

Source: MSC (Marine Stewardship Council)

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