Promoting a more responsible seafood consumption
In 2016, the percentage of stocks fished at biologically unsustainable levels was assessed at 34.2%, with 59.6% classified as maximally sustainably fished stocks and 6.2% as underfished stocks (SOFIA – FAO 2020). If it persists, this situation could compromise the future of an entire industry, from fishers through to fishmongers, restaurants and consumers.
The Mr. Goodfish program, launched in 2010 by three major European aquariums – Nausicaá, in Boulogne-sur-Mer, France, the Genoa Aquarium in Italy and the Aquarium Finisterrae in Spain – aims to draw the attention of the entire fishing industry and consumers to this situation and to offer simple, positive solutions. If every person in France consumed a species recommended by Mr. Goodfish rather than an overexploited species, even just once a year, 18,000 metric tons of endangered species could be saved. Only action from the entire industry and from consumers will save the fishing economy so that we can continue consuming seafood in the future.
Following the example set by HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco and his Government to safeguard the bluefin tuna, the Foundation has been involved in sustainable fishing activities for many years, and therefore decided to coordinate the Mr. Goodfish program on the Mediterranean coast since 2013.
To offer guidance for the industry and help consumers with their purchasing choices, every season Mr. Goodfish publishes a list of seafood products recommended by an expert committee made up of scientists, fisheries committees, chefs and consumer associations.
Communications have a positive slant: rather than banning some fish, Mr. Goodfish recommends species that should be favored, based on three criteria:
- State of the resource: Mr. Goodfish products must come from stocks considered to be in a good state and subject to scientific monitoring.
- Size: The minimum recommended size is the size of first sexual maturity.
- Season: Recommended seasons are those outside the species’ peak reproduction seasons.
Mr. Goodfish also highlights little-known species to showcase and help people rediscover those that have been somewhat forgotten, and encourages consumers to diversify their choices. All fish are good! The program suggests original recipes created by member chefs via its website.
The Mr. Goodfish program relies on the entire fishing industry, and includes fishers, distributors, restaurants and fishmongers, who play a critical role at the point of purchase. They commit to highlighting recommended species on their menus or counters, using communication tools tailored to their businesses.
More than 2,450 industry professionals have joined the program in France and Monaco:
- More than 400 partner restaurants
- Caterers, fishmongers, wholesalers, fish auctioneers and those involved in processing
- Métro, Intermarché, Auchan, etc.