A new report from WWF UK is calling for an urgent effort to strengthen regulation of the seafood sector.


A press release from the NGO says its latest report exposes the combined nature, climate and social impacts of current UK seafood production and consumption.

According to the report, seafood that carries a lower environmental and social impact could offer a relatively sustainable source of protein. Estimates suggest that, if managed sustainably, global seafood production could increase by 36-74% by 2050 – this will be essential if UK seafood consumption increases further, in line with national dietary recommendations.

In summary:

  • New report offers first ever analysis of combined nature, climate and social impacts of UK seafood production and consumption, revealing a mixed picture of risks across key species groups.
  • WWF says certification schemes for sustainable seafood are only a “first step”, not an end point for efforts to put the sector on a sustainable footing.
  • UK governments urged to play their part by setting core environmental standards for all food sold in the UK, including seafood.

WWF’s press release goes on to say that Risky Seafood Business, has for the first time quantified the total volume of the seafood eaten by people in the UK. In 2019 this measured 887,000 tonnes – equivalent to 5.2 billion portions of fish and chips by weight – over 80% of which was fished or farmed outside of UK waters.

Looking at the supply chains of 33 species groups in UK waters and across the world, the conservation organisation looked at how ‘risky’ UK seafood production and consumption of these species is – from their impact on ecosystems to climate and social impacts.

The report found that some species groups like mussels and sardines carry relatively low risk compared to species groups like swordfish and tuna, which were assessed as high risk across multiple areas, including climate and ecosystem impacts.

Across all species groups, the report finds that more than 250 Endangered, Threatened and Protected species, from whales and dolphins to seabirds and sharks, have been directly impacted by fisheries and aquaculture around the world, supplying UK markets. The conservation organisation is calling for a “concerted and collaborative effort” from UK governments and businesses to address these issues, and to ensure 100% of the seafood produced and consumed in the UK comes from sustainable sources by 2030.

  • The WWF UK press release is available here.
  • The full report is available here.
  • The summary is available here.


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