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Restrictions Fail to Dampen Enthusiasm for Think Fish Week in Belgium and The Netherlands

October 2, 2020

Last week saw the eighth Think Fish Week take place in The Netherlands and Belgium, and although it was a much more virtual celebration of responsible seafood than in previous years – for obvious reasons – it was as exciting and eventful as ever.

Think Fish Week – Semaine de la Pêche responsable in French and Bewuste Visweek in Dutch – is an annual collaboration between ASC and MSC, to celebrate sustainability and responsibility and help consumers navigate the sometimes confusing world of seafood.

Previous years have seen events taking place around both countries but as with all things, this year has seen a more remote approach – which thankfully hasn’t dampened anyone’s enthusiasm for the benefits of certified seafood.

In total ASC and MSC worked with 69 partner organisations in the two countries, including retailers, producers, and fishmongers. Radio commercials were broadcast in both countries, along with online video content and all manner of other digital communications assets, which can be used by partners to help promote their commitment to responsible seafood.

Perhaps the star of the show was Omar – the fictional ‘Hero of the Fish’ at the centre of the charming children’s book, illustrated by Amandine Thomas, which tells the story of Omar’s discovery of the wonders of the oceans and the importance of protecting them by fishing sustainably and farming responsibly. The book is available in French, Dutch and Flemish and has been sent to the recipients of Hello Fresh boxes – and ASC’s Merel den Held will even be reading the book to schoolchildren at a Dutch primary school.

“Every year we’re impressed by people’s passion for responsibly produced seafood, and this year it’s shone through despite things being done more remotely than usual,” said Merel den Held, ASC Global Seafood Campaign Manager. “What’s important about this week is the diverse range of partners and people involved – not just retailers but local fishmongers, and not just children but also their parents, who can try out one of our delicious seafood recipes at home.”

Omar, the “Hero of Fish” stars in a children’s book about responsible seafood in French, Dutch and Flemish

ASC and MSC also surveyed 1,000 Belgian consumers ahead of the week and found that the majority didn’t know where their seafood was coming from. The survey found that over half of consumers said they didn’t have a clue where seabass comes from, for example. Despite this confusion, consumers overwhelmingly said that traceability was important to them. Read the story in Flemish or in French on ASC’s microsites.

The findings demonstrate the challenges facing consumers who want to know where their seafood comes from but don’t know how to find this out. But ASC certification means that a product has come from a farm that has been certified against strict standards of social and environmental responsibility, and has then been traced all along the supply chain. This takes some of the confusion out of seafood shopping, and allows consumers to directly reward those responsible farmers.

The weeks were well supported by a number of partner organisations in The Netherlands and Belgium
Confidental Infomation