Seafood

 / ©: Jürgen Freund / WWF-Canon
The huge size and popularity of consuming seafood places a large demand on both local and overseas fisheries – to the extent that certain species are in danger of being wiped out forever, and marine ecosystems are deteriorating as a result. Unsustainable fishing practices are largely to blame.

WWF has initiated a variety of campaigns in Hong Kong to garner support from individuals and businesses to choose sustainable seafood, and importantly to avoid protected and endangered marine species, such as shark and seafood harvested from unsustainable sources. By openly opting for sustainable seafood, WWF hopes that wide-reaching support from businesses will create momentum for effective change in the seafood industry at large.

The Global Fisheries Challenges

Seafood is an integral part of the diet in many nations and the worldwide demand for seafood is rising. According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) in 2009, seafood (including captured and cultured marine and freshwater species, but excluding aquatic plants) provided about 3 billion people with at least 20 percent of their animal protein intake. The growing human population has led to an increasing demand and supply of seafood worldwide. In 1950 the global production of seafood was approximately 20 million tonnes, with the majority coming from wild capture fisheries. By 2011, total global production had grown more than seven-fold to 154 million tonnes, with about 59 percent coming from wild capture fisheries. Of the total seafood production, about 131 million tonnes was for human consumption.

Since the 1950s the demand for seafood has soared and driven the depletion of fishery stocks. According to the FAO, the proportion of overexploited fisheries (fisheries that are yielding less than their maximum potential production due to excess fishing) increased from 10 percent in the mid-1970s to around 30 percent in 2009. Over the same period of time, the proportion of fish stocks considered underexploited or moderately exploited (where there is still room for these fisheries to produce more) dropped from 40 percent to around 13 percent.
 / ©: Frederic Larrey/ WWF-Naturepl.com
Fishery crisis
© Frederic Larrey/ WWF-Naturepl.com

Seafood Choice Initiative

Launched by WWF in 2007, the Seafood Choice Initiative is a versatile guide to seafood consumption tailored specifically to Hong Kong. The initiative clearly outlines recommended and avoid seafood items and how to identify sustainably sourced marine products. An example of this is the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) label, which is shown on seafood products to certify that they are sustainably sourced. By supporting eco-friendly seafood we can help ensure a healthy ocean for future generations. Updated version of Seafood Guide is launched in 2013.
 / ©: WWF-Hong Kong
Seafood Guide
© WWF-Hong Kong

Shark Fin Initiative

The sustainability of consuming shark products such as shark fin has long been of global concern and Hong Kong is one of the greatest consumers of shark fin. Unfortunately we are not aware of any shark fisheries that could be considered sustainable from an ecosystem-perspective. WWF-Hong Kong has been promoting and educating the public on sustainable seafood. We have been engaging caterers and corporations in Hong Kong not to serve and consume shark fin soup respectively. The number of restaurants and corporations supporting this initiative is increasing.
Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos, Grey reef shark. Curious and territorial, Grey reef sharks are among ... / ©: Cat Holloway / WWF-Canon
Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos, Grey reef shark. Curious and territorial, Grey reef sharks are among the most commonly encountered sharks on coral reefs. Fiji
© Cat Holloway / WWF-Canon

Coral Triangle Network Initiative

The Coral Triangle represents six countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, the Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste, and spans a sea area of about 5.7 million km2. This area is ecologically important as it is home to a myriad of marine life that is economically and socially significant to the 120 million people living there. However, the Coral Triangle is increasingly threatened by the unsustainable exploitation of natural resources region-wide. The huge demand from Asian countries such as Hong Kong for live reef food fish is one of these growing threats. You can be part of the campaign to save the Coral Triangle.
 / ©: Cat Holloway / WWF-Canon
Coral Triangle
© Cat Holloway / WWF-Canon