|Assessment of seafood sustainability and traceability within the seafood industry: Developing a Sustainable Seafood Policy for the University of the Algarve|
Puncher, G.N. (2011). Assessment of seafood sustainability and traceability within the seafood industry: Developing a Sustainable Seafood Policy for the University of the Algarve. MSc Thesis. Universidade do Algarve: Faro. 80 pp.
Seafood; Traceability; Marien
Throughout the world?s oceans, fish abundance and species diversity are plummeting as a result of widespread overfishing. It is becoming increasingly obvious that governments will be unable to bring the industry under control and that system-wide collapse is a conceivable possibility. Consequently, conservation efforts have begun focusing on consumer-based approaches, appealing to the public to voluntarily adopt more sustainable consumer behaviour. Within this context, several universities, aquariums and institutions have already adopted sustainable seafood policies that limit the food options available to students, customers and staff. This project proposes to deliver Portugal?s first sustainable seafood policy at the University of the Algarve, home to the internationally recognized marine science centre, CCMAR. Purchase records from 2008 and 2010 were closely examined and used to construct a database containing all seafood purchased by the university during this time. Using this information the university?s “seafood footprint” and trophic level as well as its per capita seafood consumption rate was calculated. Potential mercury accumulation rates were also calculated for average seafood consumers at the university and were found to be far above advised limits. Much concern has recently been expressed concerning the dubious origin of seafood products in Europe, the widespread practice of mislabeling of catches and outright theft of fish from protected waters. As such genetic analysis of seafood products sold at the university was conducted in an effort to determine extent of mislabeling. Isolated tissues from “pre-cooked” fish sticks and seafood cakes were successfully identified to species level. Mislabeling of products, lack of traceability and consumer deception appears to be commonplace. Using the results of this study, consumer and NGO feedback as well as examples set by other institutions, a sustainable seafood policy, with particular focus on traceability and transparency was composed and delivered to the university administration.