Seafood Watch’s green light rating for New Zealand salmon has been a go signal for international consumers, with a flurry of sales enquiries coming from its glowing sustainability rating.
While Seafood Watch is relatively unknown by domestic consumers, it is a globally respected authority on sustainable seafood and highly influential with seafood buyers in North America.
So when New Zealand became the first to achieve a green light rating for salmon farming, the recognition had an immediate flow-on effect with producers.
“Essentially, it’s a consumer facing, independent, trusted authority on sustainable seafood rating our salmon among the world’s most sustainable,” said New Zealand King Salmon’s General Manager Marketing Jemma McCowan.
“It has certainly raised demand.
“Seafood Watch has been building recognition of sustainable seafood for over 15 years and become the go-to guide for consumers in North America.”
With over 52 million copies of their wallet-sized guide printed and an app downloaded over 1 million times, Seafood Watch has a wide reach.
“Our green rating has had a real impact, and resonated through to consumers,” Jemma said. “Consumers trust Seafood Watch and trust that they can eat the seafood in the guide with confidence.
“Our environmental practices have been recognised and certified in the past, but we’ve never seen it translate directly to increased commercial activity like this.”
The positive impact is also being felt by our largest fresh water farmer Mt Cook Alpine Salmon.
“We’ve definitely seen a lift in sales,” said Director of Sales Adrian Hill.
“Receiving the green tick has reinforced our position on sustainability and helped strengthen our reputation as a leader in sustainable production.
“Sustainability has always been a large part of our story and part of the reason why people buy our product.
“This rating is a bonus to that and it will give our food service customers another tool to help tell our story and help their diners understand what makes our product so unique.”
The green light would also be a useful tool in building community support and understanding according to Aquaculture New Zealand CEO Gary Hooper who had been encouraging Monterey Bay to assess the industry against their strict criteria since 2010.
“New Zealand’s waters are special to all Kiwis – including our salmon farmers,” Mr Hooper said. “This is their back yard. They live, work and play on the water and it’s their job to protect it.
“These ratings are arguably the strongest possible endorsement of the New Zealand industry’s green credentials and shows the local industry offers a tremendous opportunity to provide sustainable growth and create more green jobs.
“It shows the collective industry is leading the world with its environmental management practices. “This is huge kudos for the industry. Seafood Watch is the gold standard of global consumer guides and endorsement does not come easy.
“It’s proof that seafood lovers can feel good about eating New Zealand farmed salmon, knowing they are supporting fish for future generations.”