An Introduction to DEVELOPING, MAINTAINING, AND LEVERAGING SUSTAINABLY MINDED CONSUMERS to Care about Ropeless Fishing…
At the 2019 Seafood Expo: North America, Globescan presented “What Consumers Really Want: The Future of Sustainable Seafood.” Associate Director, Abbie Curtis O’Reilly informed several hundred industry stakeholders on a through survey done of North American seafood consumers (n=10,477) which found that 67% believe that seafood consumption should come only from sustainable sources, while 81% agree that seafood supplies need to be protected for future generations. It was also discovered that “pollution of the oceans is the most concerning ocean issue” for consumers, followed by overfishing.
When pressed further, 70% of those asked (n=4,155) stated they would like to hear more from their seafood suppliers of choice on the sustainability of their products.
Perhaps then, a goal for future marketing for suppliers could stress how they address the issue of both marine debris as well as ghost fishing. This will help illustrate the benefits ropeless fishing has to the environment, which in turn, can help make it more important to today’s consumers of seafood. Not everyone may know that fishing presents a danger to whales, but everyone these days knows how full of trash our oceans are. (Morris et al., 2018)
Further, she offered a plan to engage consumers in acting on their beliefs when purchasing products that are sustainably sourced. There are four key steps to this approach;
- Educate – use popular channels to maintain a high awareness of ocean sustainability issues.
- Equip – people care about independent certification, but lack awareness of ecolabels when shopping.
- Excite – messaging ensuring protection of fish for future generations can help to inspire.
- Engage – the power of partnerships is key to engaging the mainstream. (Morris et al., 2018)
Of equal importance is networking and engagement with the seafood wholesalers, dealers, retailers, and restaurant industry representatives. Alliances with organizations such as Sea Pact and the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership will be critical to ensuring that ropeless fishing technology and the vast improvements it can offer pot and trap fishing to reach higher sustainability goals are well-understood and communicated within industry.
Why is this important for ropeless fishing?
Fishers are justifiable exhausted by the many measures they have been forced to undertake over the last two decades, at great expense to themselves, and with seemingly little or no benefit to whales. (Pace et al, 2014) None of these measures have been proven to reduce death or severe injury.
For those of us who fight for these technologies to be given a chance and further developed, the onus lies with us to now demonstrate not only a conservation need for these gears, but desire from consumers to support this type of fishing. This change requires a major restructuring of thought, a reorganization on deck of gear, and a substantial collaborative effort of all stakeholders, with priority given to funding for gear.
Kim Sawicki- November, 2019
This article was taken largely from a document that highlights the findings in the aforementioned presentation, an altered form of that presentation was found to share with this audience. Questions may be addressed to the author, or directly to the contact listed below.