Partner content: Happy heart, happy ocean – 5 reasons to choose sustainable seafood this Heart Awareness Month
Brought to you by the Marine Stewardship Council
September is Heart Awareness Month and one of the best ways to keep your heart happy is to eat fish two to three times a week. With the new “Happy Heart, Happy Ocean” campaign, the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) encourages South Africans to choose seafood that’s good for you and the ocean too.
Up to 80 per cent of heart disease and stroke can be prevented by simply living a healthy lifestyle that includes healthy eating. Fish is a high-protein option and naturally oily fish are high in omega-3 fats, which are good for your heart and can help to improve overall wellbeing.
Independent insights consultancy GlobeScan shows that South African shoppers’ top motivator for seafood purchase is that of their family’s health. But one in two seafood consumers is concerned that their favourite fish won’t be available to eat in 20 years’ time. It’s a known fact that our oceans are in crisis. Overfishing, climate change and pollution are putting marine ecosystems under immense pressure. That’s why for plenty more fish to be left in the sea, seafood consumers agree that buying fish and seafood from sustainable sources is vital.
Fortunately, some key labels can empower consumers to make smart and sustainable choices. The MSC blue fish label indicates seafood that can be traced to a sustainable source from ocean to plate. Choosing seafood products with the MSC blue fish label allows consumers to enjoy eating seafood with the knowledge that they have made a positive choice to support well-managed, sustainable fisheries.
In celebration of Heart Awareness Month, the MSC is encouraging consumers to start paying closer attention to the labels on seafood and to explore the vast array of options available.
Why choose sustainable seafood?
At the seafood counter, in the freezer or canned goods aisle, here’s why consumers should choose fish and seafood products with the MSC blue fish label:
1. It’s better for our oceans
MSC-certified seafood is wild, traceable seafood that is independently verified to meet the MSC’s rigorous standards for sustainable fishing and seafood supply. The MSC blue fish label indicates seafood that can be traced to a sustainable source from ocean to plate. Sustainable fishing reduces environmental impacts, guards our oceans against overfishing and protects marine biodiversity globally. Not only is sustainable seafood better for the environment, but it also helps ensure a steady supply of an important natural resource that people around the globe depend on for sustenance as well as for their livelihoods.
2. It’s good for your heart
Seafood is protein-packed and provides good nutrients, vitamins and essential omega-3 fatty acids. “To get the most nutritional benefits, the World Heart Federation recommends consuming at least 450 grams of fish per week, which equates to three portions weekly,” explains Professor Pamela Naidoo, Chief Executive at the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa (HSFSA), a non-profit dedicated to halting the rise of premature deaths caused by cardiovascular disease (CVD) in South Africa and committed to promoting the adoption of healthy lifestyles.
The HSFSA’s Heart Mark – often seen next to the MSC blue fish label on your favourite seafood products – guides consumers in making healthier food product choices. It also suggests that the food product may contribute towards reducing and controlling high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other conditions when used as part of a healthy, balanced diet and lifestyle.
3. It’s a way to drive change with your shopping habits
By buying seafood independently verified as sustainable, you’re supporting fishermen committed to operating in an environmentally friendly manner and supporting their efforts to keep our oceans thriving. What’s more, every time you buy a product featuring the MSC blue fish label, you’re encouraging retailers to stock more sustainably sourced seafood and more fisheries to improve their practices. With some effort, sustainable seafood could become the norm – not the exception.
4. It’s available at every price point
Although some consumers may believe they need to pay a significant premium to include heart-healthy and sustainable seafood in their diets, that’s not accurate. The MSC blue fish label can be found on nearly 40,000 products around the globe and is featured on everything from fresh, frozen, canned and preserved seafood to supplements and even pet food! Whether you’re looking for healthy, affordable school lunch options or hosting a gourmet seafood dinner, sustainable seafood is a viable option. MSC-labelled seafood can be found on a wide range of products, from a can of tuna to luxury sushi.
5. It’s a way to ensure seafood for generations to come
Along with fisheries, retailers and restaurants around the globe, we all have a part in protecting the productivity and health of the oceans and the livelihoods of people who depend on them. By seeking out certified sustainable seafood, consumers have the power to protect and support the fishing industry, ensuring that generations to come will continue to enjoy seafood as part of a healthy diet.
Healthy and sustainable seafood recipes
Recipes are a great way to promote everyday healthy and sustainable seafood cooking. We’ve collected the latest healthy recipes using delicious sustainable seafood. Try these salmon cakes or this tuna noodle salad. These recipes use seafood carrying the MSC blue fish label.