Majority of fish consumed in Singapore not responsibly caught: WWF

Channel NewsAsia 4 Oct 16;

SINGAPORE: Singaporeans need to make better consumption choices as three out of four common fish species consumed here are not responsibly caught, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said on Tuesday (Oct 4).

Fish varieties like the Indian threadfin (commonly known as ngoh hur) used in fish porridge, silver pomfret and the yellowbanded scad (also known as ikan kuning) used in nasi lemak are among those which Singaporean consumers should stop eating, the conservation group said.

A new seafood guide launched by WWF lists these fish species and others commonly used in local dishes as “avoid”.

“Without collective and decisive action, these popular fish could disappear from Singapore’s menus within our lifetime,” it said.

Singaporeans are one of the biggest consumers of seafood in the world, with each person consuming about 22kg of seafood a year, compared to the global average of 20kg, the conservation group said.

“We are squandering one of our greatest natural resources by failing to manage our fish stocks sensibly," said WWF-Singapore CEO Elaine Tan. "The seafood guide empowers everyone in the supply chain to make conscious choices that prevent the further exploitation of fish stocks.”

On Tuesday, WWF also launched the Responsible Seafood Group, consisting of organisations such as seafood supplier Global Ocean Link and luxury hotel Marina Bay Sands which have committed to responsible sourcing standards.

Marina Bay Sands’ Executive Director of Sustainability Kevin Teng said: "Since 2014, we have eliminated sharks fin from the restaurants we own and operate. At that time, we also started serving selected seafood sourced from suppliers that fish or farm responsibly, based on global seafood standards.”

- CNA/am


75% of popular seafood in Singapore not responsibly caught
WWF media release 4 Oct 16;

4 October 2016, Singapore – WWF has called for industry and public action to stem the increase of unsustainable seafood in Singapore. The new Singapore Seafood Guide, launched today, highlights the urgency for Singaporeans to make better consumption choices as 3 out of 4 common fish species have been flagged as unsustainable.

The guide evaluates over 40 popular seafood species in Singapore according to an international methodology.1 Compared to five years ago, fish varieties used in popular local dishes are now listed as ‘avoid’ in the guide. These include the Indian threadfin (locally known as “Ngoh Hur”) used in fish porridge; silver pomfret, commonly used in Chinese dishes, and yellowbanded scad (or “Ikan Kuning”), a key ingredient in nasi lemak. Without collective and decisive action, these popular fish could disappear from Singapore’s menus within our lifetime.

“We are squandering one of our greatest natural resources by failing to manage our fish stocks sensibly. As one of the biggest consumers of seafood in the world per capita2, Singaporeans have a big role to play in protecting our oceans. The Seafood Guide empowers everyone in the supply chain to make conscious choices that prevent the further exploitation of fish stocks,” said Elaine Tan, CEO, WWF-Singapore.

Responding to the growing crisis, Singapore’s seafood industry – consisting of retailers, hoteliers, restaurants and suppliers – has come together to crowdsource industry solutions at the Sustainable Seafood Business Forum today.

The Forum also kick started the Responsible Seafood Group, consisting of local industry leaders such as Global Ocean Link and Marina Bay Sands. Working with WWF-Singapore, they will commit to responsible sourcing standards and pave the way for the rest of the industry to follow suit.

"Our customers are demanding to know where their seafood comes from. Finding alternatives to endangered species on the red list and choosing to work with sustainable suppliers and their products has gone beyond being a corporate responsibility, and become a commercially viable decision for us,” said Lucas Glanville, Executive Chef of Grand Hyatt Singapore, which offers sustainable seafood in all restaurants, event spaces and in-room dining.

WWF cites Finland as an example of how a country with a population similar to Singapore’s can achieve sustainable seafood goals. Today, only 2% of all seafood sold in Finland is on WWF’s red list.

"Sustainability has become an everyday element in Finland’s seafood trade, and companies are very familiar with the origin of the fish they purchase. In addition, over one third of Finns use the seafood guide consciously to make better decisions,” says Matti Ovaska, WWF-Finland's Conservation Officer.

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