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Премия рунета 2017

Ecolabled fishing products will become more popular in Russia

23 march 2018
Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) created a working group consisting of environmentalists, fishermen, fish product producers, and retailers, with the aim of raising consumer interest in buying sustainable marine products.

The first meeting of the work group took place in Moscow, in March 2018. All the group members, including representatives from WWF-Russia, are eager to promote sustainable seafood on the Russian market. The MSC ecolabel on marine products guarantees that the fish/seafood were caught using authorized fishing gear with minimum negative impact on the ecosystem, using environmentally sound harvest practices that follow cutting edge standards in marine ecosystem conservation. However, an ordinary Russian customer of a seafood store remains hitherto uninterested in purchasing ecolabled products. WWF-Russia believes that promoting the MSC ecolabel and, in general, promoting eco-certification among Russian consumers is an achievable, albeit arduous goal. .

“For example, WWF-Germany faced the same problem a couple of decade ago. It took them 10 to 15 year after the introduction of the MSC ecolabled products in Germany to make them recognizable by ordinary buyers. And that was a highly developed European country with, as it is thought to be, a high level of ecological awareness among its population and a relatively low number of intermediaries between fishermen and consumers. People in Russia treat nature differently, and the first MSC certificate in Russia was received by a fishery in 2009. Thus, the MSC, WWF, fishermen, and retailers all have much work to do,” says Sergey Rafanov, the director of WWF-Russia’s Kamchatka Ecoregional Office.

The MSC plans to take some decisive steps internally to raise accuracy and objectivity of the assessment process and the ecological rigour of the standard. The MSC needs not only the support of conservation organizations and fishermen around the world, but also relies on the sympathies of seafood consumers to drive market demand for certified products. In the end, it the consumer who decides what to buy. At this point there exists a small price difference between certified and non-certified seafood. That is why it is so important to make a firm connection between sustainable products and personal responsibility for marine ecosystems conservation in the minds of buyers.

“It is absolutely true that promoting sustainable seafood in stores, cafes, and restaurants, and attracting people’s attention to certified products, and raising ecological awareness overall takes time. It a complex task which must be solved together by all interested parties,” says Andrey Vinnikov, the director of WWF-Russia’s Sustainable Marine Fishing Program. “WWF-Russia has huge experience working with wide and diverse audiences. We publish consumer’s guides, booklets for customers, and brochures which help buyers choose environmentally sound products. Nationwide information campaigns can be also very useful.”

The working group will define priorities and develop a strategy for promotion of sustainable seafood on the Russian market.

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