After asking over 10,000 people from 10 countries, a survey of Europeans has shown that pollution is the greatest concern for the marine environment. This is followed by overfishing, sea level rise and coastal erosion.
The report found that people feel more concerned about an issue the more informed they are. The levels of concern increased alongside greater understanding of the issues, yet they felt personal actions could not make a difference. Researchers concluded that better engagement between scientists, policymakers, environmental groups and the public is essential, and have asserted that public support is key to successful policies.
There have been a number of positive steps to address marine problems in Europe, including the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy which can bring protection to marine areas from external threats, and by addressing overfishing.
ClientEarth’s research in 2010 found that although people wanted to buy sustainable seafood, there was confusion over the various claims made by suppliers and supermarkets. In working together with industry, the Sustainable Seafood Coalition (SSC) has agreed on harmonised labelling of fish and seafood for consistency across the UK supply chain.
The SSC is working to help consumers make clear, consistent and informed choices when it comes to buying seafood. This will create a clear system of labelling and the public can feel better placed to take personal action that can make a difference. The SSC businesses are adopting the responsible sourcing code as well, so the members are making a difference too. We believe this combined approach from the industry and the public is vital for the future of sustainable fishing and healthy oceans.