Survey shows US consumers get the sustainable seafood message

While a debate rages among ocean environmentalists regarding the merits of Marine Stewardship Council certification of sustainable seafood (see Gallon Environment Letter later this month for our take on this debate), a poll conducted by Truven Health Analytics for National Public Radio in the US suggests that many people are aware of the threats to fish stocks and are eager to switch their seafood purchasing to products that are from certified sustainable sources.

The poll found that more than 60% of respondents say that they eat seafood more than twice each month. Frequency of eating seafood seems to increase somewhat with income and level of education. More than 75% of respondents stated that it is important or very important that the seafood they buy comes from sustainable fisheries and 60% state that they will preferentially purchase sustainably caught seafood. Almost 50% state that they are willing to pay at least 10% more for seafood labeled as sustainably caught.

Much more detail is contained in the Executive Summary of the poll results which can be found at http://media.npr.org/documents/2013/feb/sustainablefishing.pdf

An NPR assessment of the results is at http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/02/11/171743185/most-americans-eager-to-buy-seafood-thats-sustainable

GallonDaily notes that polls of consumer habits in greener purchasing are frequently somewhat inconsistent with actual practices. People tend to respond on the basis of what they perceive to be community expectations rather than on the basis of their actual behaviour. However, there are few publicly accessible mechanisms for evaluating consumer attitudes towards greener products so we consider that poll data are still a useful tool.

Readers sometimes ask us why we present more US than Canadian poll results. There are two main reasons:

  • the primary mandate of GallonDaily is to present environmental news and information that is relevant to Canadian business but not generally available in the Canadian media.
  • there are many more environment and sustainable development polls conducted and published in the US than in Canada.

If Canadian sponsors of polls would like to provide results of environment and sustainable development polls to GallonDaily we would be pleased to consider publishing more Canadian results. Until that happens we will generally leave it to our Canadian readers to decide whether US poll results are likely to be applicable to the Canadian situation. GallonDaily’s editor can be reached at editor (at) gallonletter.ca [replace (at) with @].

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