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Research shows Europeans prefer environmentally-friendly seafood


In the first-ever poll of European consumers, supermarkets, chefs and restaurateurs on attitudes toward seafood and the ocean, 79% said that the environmental impact of seafood is an important factor in their purchasing decisions.

The new study, commissioned by the Seafood Choices Alliance in partnership with Greenpeace, the Marine Conservation Society, WWF and the North Sea Foundation, reveals that 86% of consumers would prefer to buy seafood that is labelled as environmentally responsible. Consumers say that reassurance is more important than price, and 40% are willing to pay 5-10% more for seafood identified as eco-friendly, the study from the nonprofit trade association shows.

Conducted in the UK, Germany and Spain, the study also found an emerging activism for protecting the ocean through the choices that seafood buyers make: 95% of consumers and 85% of seafood professionals say they want more information about how to buy sustainable seafood.

“These findings highlight the leading role that European seafood professionals and consumers are playing to preserve the ocean through the choices they bring to the dinner table,” said Michael Boots, director of the Seafood Choices Alliance, which launched its European program earlier this year after being founded in the United States in 2001. “By working with the industry to help source ocean-friendly seafood, we will ensure a lasting supply that is good for the ocean, good for business, and good for consumers.”

The study also highlighted great concern among Europeans about the state of the oceans, with 88% of seafood professionals and 85% of consumers saying they were quite or very concerned. Knowledge of specific threats to the ocean environment is also high, with 71% of professionals aware of overfishing and more than half of consumers acknowledging bycatch and overfishing.

"Seafood retailers like ASDA and others involved in buying and selling unsustainable seafood ignore this research at their peril. It is clear that consumers care greatly about the environmental impacts of the seafood they eat, and are willing to pay more to ensure the fish they consume isn’t harming the oceans, " says Oliver Knowles, Greenpeace UK Oceans Campaigner. For information on Greenpeace’s retailer campaign visit

“These findings are very encouraging because they show that when retailers and consumers are given adequate information, they are quite willing to alter their purchases in favor of sustainable seafood,” said Bernadette Clarke, Fisheries Officer at the Marine Conservation Society. For more information on the MCS’s Good Fish Guide visit

“Consumers have the power to tell the fish suppliers what they want – and this study shows that they want nothing less than sustainable seafood,” said Katherine Short, Fisheries officer for WWF’s Global Marine Programme, “If you are buying fish from a shop, look out for the blue Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) logo that guarantees that the fish comes from a sustainable source. It still isn’t too late to save threatened fish stocks and consumers and chefs in Europe can drive the urgent action that is needed to sustainably manage one of our most precious resources.” For more information on WWF’s marine programs, visit

"This research shows that European consumers, chefs and retailers want tools availalble to them in order to make better seafood choices," says Esther Luiten, project leader for sustainable seafood at the North Sea Foundation. "Our Good Fish Guide makes it simple to choose eco-friendly seafood for the holidays or any season." For more information on NSF’s Good Fish Guide visit

Julia Roberson | alfa
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