What got you interested in sustainable seafood?
I was studying to be a fisheries scientist because I realised how little is known about the marine environment compared to terrestrial conservation. I found that fascinating–I absolutely loved the science side of things–but I realised that you can have the best science in the world but it won’t actually lead to sustainable fishing unless the people who make decisions are onside. That got me into the economics, trade and other policy issues that affect fish and the fishing industry. The Marine Stewardship Council and sustainable seafood is the perfect intersection of environment, economics and trade for my interests.
What do you think are the most important actions consumers can take to help protect the oceans and fish stocks?
Consumers can really influence the seafood market, and through that global fishing practices, by making sustainable purchasing choices. This puts pressure on the retailer and whole supply chain to think about sustainability. Consumers can download the MSC app to find sustainable seafood that is independently assessed, to help them make those sustainable choices. You don’t need to enlist as an environmental warrior and go out to sea for months on end – you just need to make responsible buying decisions in your day to day life.
The MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) is an international environmental standard setter that provides a market-based incentive for sustainability and an ecolabel for sustainable seafood. The MSC’s Fishery Standard is based on 3 core Principles: 1) the health of the target stock, 2) impacts on other species, habitats and ecosystems, and 3) management of the fishery. The MSC makes it super easy to make sustainable seafood choices, just look for the blue ecolabel- it’s like having a team of scientists with you when you shop!
What other advice do you have for concerned consumers?
If your retailer, restaurant or fishmonger doesn’t stock sustainable seafood, ask them to. And if they claim that their seafood products are sustainable, ask them how you can be sure that that’s the case and how they measure that sustainability! The MSC ecolabel on a product means that the fishery has been assessed by a team of experts against a science-based standard, and that the labelled product is traceable back to a certified fishery.
What other issues do you act on when making your own consumption decisions? Sustainability. There are a lot of definitions of sustainability out there. When I’m making consumption decisions for seafood or for other products, I really try and find out what is really behind claims of “sustainability” to make sure it’s in line with what I think of as sustainable.
In terms of the issues I care about, I’m passionate about marine issues generally including climate change and ocean acidification, but also social sustainability issues like gender equality.
And the motorcycle–tell us about that.
It’s hard to describe the feeling of freedom and joy you can get from riding a motorcycle. It’s so different from driving a car, you’re out there in the elements experiencing the environment that you’re passing through, and you see corners in a whole different way! I wanted to ride a motorbike since I was a little girl and I knew the first time I got on a bike there was no turning back, I’m hooked.
MSC phone and tablet apps