Because consumer choice changes demand patterns and determines the species caught, shoppers now have the power and the ability to bring about change by choosing the right food to serve, says John Duncan, the manager of the World Wide Fund for Nature's seafood transformation programme.
"Consumers often forget that they drive the whole seafood market demand and instead blame fishers and retailers," Duncan tells the Mail & Guardian.
His big project is the Southern Africa Sustainable Seafood Initiative, which drives the colour-coding of fish on supermarket shelves. A green labelled fish - such as Hake - can be consumed freely, as the stocks are plentiful and well managed. Yellow tag, for fish like Kob, means it should be consumed sparingly. If, however, you eat fish tagged in red, such as Rock Cod, you are helping to wipe out the species. The coding also reflects how the fish is caught (for example a fishing rod vs. line-fishing.)
By giving consumers the choice, Duncan says, the project had changed consumption patterns. When customers created a demand for green-label fish, suppliers responded accordingly, and, conversely, the Mail & Guardian
says, fishermen stopped hooking the red species because they could not sell them easily.
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