With the sea, for the sea: Educational project for sustainable seafood consumption

On March 2008, the Miramare Marine Protected Area located in Trieste (Italy), in collaboration with WWF Italy, started a project called “With the Sea, for the Sea” focused on the sustainability of seafood consumption. The project has scientific and educational purposes and involves both our research and educational/outreach departments, as well as local schools, fish markets and seafood consumers. The project involves primary and secondary schools, fish markets, supermarkets and their customers. We monitored with schoolchildren the amount of seafood products bought per day by the fish markets to assign them the estimated fishprint and to consider together how this fishprint could be reduced.

An important part of the project consisted in the development of a tool to estimate the impact of seafood consumption on the world’s oceans. The ecological footprint, and the fishprint in particular, a sustainability indicator used in academic and educational settings, fit perfectly with our purposes.

The integrated fishprint needs future adjustments, but, at the present state, it can be a useful educational tool for understanding and communicating the massive impact of humanity’s seafood consumption on the ocean environment and how this could be reduced. For instance, they could easily become aware that they can reduce their impacts eating seafood with low trophic level, or avoiding products from over-exploited or distant seas (thus preferring local seafood) or caught with low sustainable techniques. In this way, the integrated fishprint can be a precious tool for promoting sustainable seafood choices.