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Awareness and labeling initiatives can benefit inland fisheries

November 4, 2011
American Institute of Biological Sciences
Much less attention is paid to conservation of freshwater fish and shellfish species that to marine species, although freshwater species may be relatively more threatened. Awareness and certification schemes that have had some success raising awareness of threats to marine fishes could be adapted for the benefit of freshwater species, according to a new article.

Sustainable seafood initiatives, including certification and ecolabeling and awareness schemes, could be extended to more effectively cover inland, freshwater fisheries, according to researchers writing in the November issue of BioScience.

The world's growing dependence on fish protein and the imperiled state of many freshwater fisheries argues for such efforts, the authors conclude, although because freshwater fisheries tend to be smaller and are more concentrated in developing countries than marine and coastal fisheries, the efforts would have to be modified substantially to target the different consumers.

The article's authors, Steven Cooke of Carleton University and two colleagues, initially set out to assess the scientific literature on ecolabeling and awareness schemes as they related to freshwater species, but soon determined there were very few such studies. Although freshwater species and those (such as salmon) that live in freshwater during part of their life cycle are included in lists intended for guide consumers on sustainable diet choices, they constitute a small minority, according to a survey of 10 certification and labeling schemes.

This imbalance could lead to a public misperception that freshwater species are generally less at risk than marine species, Cooke and his colleagues argue. Grassroots schemes, rather than multimedia marketing-oriented certification schemes, are the most promising approach to increasing awareness of the threats to freshwater species and what choices consumers can make to reduce these, the authors say, because many freshwater fisheries are artisanal.

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Journal Reference:

  1. Steven J. Cooke, Karen J. Murchie, Andy J. Danylchuk. Sustainable "Seafood" Ecolabeling and Awareness Initiatives in the Context of Inland Fisheries: Increasing Food Security and Protecting Ecosystems. BioScience, 2011; 61 (11): 911 DOI: 10.1525/bio.2011.61.11.10

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American Institute of Biological Sciences. "Awareness and labeling initiatives can benefit inland fisheries." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 November 2011. <>.
American Institute of Biological Sciences. (2011, November 4). Awareness and labeling initiatives can benefit inland fisheries. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 23, 2017 from
American Institute of Biological Sciences. "Awareness and labeling initiatives can benefit inland fisheries." ScienceDaily. (accessed May 23, 2017).