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Eco-labels on fish

(article, Culinate staff)

Earlier this month, the University of Victoria released a report titled '"How The report assessed various sustainability labels slapped on farm-raised marine fish. According to the Pew Environment Group, which supported the study, the eco-labels under examination didn't really promise much improvement over wild-caught fish, although the organic label generally meant more than most.

bq. The authors used 10 environmental factors to assess the eco-labels, including antibiotic use, the ecological effect of farmed fish that escape from pens, sustainability of the fish that serve as feed, parasiticide use, and industrial energy needed in aquaculture production.

The biggest challenge? Scale. A small ocean-based farm can be sustainable on its own, but if you cluster several of those farms together, the environmental damage can be significant.

bq. “Our research shows that most eco-labels for farmed marine fish offer no more than a 10 percent improvement over the status quo,” said John Volpe, a marine ecologist at the University of Victoria and lead author of the report. “With the exception of a few outstanding examples, one-third of the eco-labels evaluated for these fish utilize standards at the same level or below what we consider to be conventional or average practice in the industry.”