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Coles and IKEA have thrown their weight behind Australia’s first Sustainable Seafood Week which took place last week.

Sustainable Seafood Week, an initiative of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), was extended from a day to a week for the first time in 2018.

Over the week, a number of brands rallied together to encourage consumers to choose sustainably caught seafood for their meals, and to boost recognition of the blue fish tick of approval, the global certification program for sustainable, wild caught seafood.

At the moment, 14 per cent of wild caught seafood currently carries the blue fish tick, a percentage MSC wants to see rise to 20 per cent by 2020.

MSC’s Oceania program director, Anne Gabriel says surveys show that around 75 per cent of consumers believe we should only be consuming sustainably sourced seafood, however, many are still unaware of how to identify these products.

To boost the use of the blue tick by businesses, Gabriel says, there needs to be an incentive for its use, and boosting consumer demand is one way to encourage fisheries and processors to adopt it.

MSC is therefore also encouraging food and retail businesses large and small to source seafood products that bear the blue fish tick, which will in turn improve recognition of the certification by consumers.

“We are trying to get everyone to take it to the next level and use the blue tick label to help consumers become more aware,” Gabriel says.

Manufacturers wanting to use the blue tick on their products must source then from MSC-certified fisheries, and they must also go through Chain of Custody certification, Gabriel said.

Last year, Coles was awarded Best Sustainable Seafood Supermarket in Australia by MSC. The retailer sources MSC seafood across its canned, frozen and deli products.

IKEA Australia Food Manager Ivana Frost said the Swedish furniture giant also sells seafood that is certified by MSC and the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC).

“That means the seafood we sell in IKEA restaurants and through our Swedish Food Markets is 100 per cent sustainably sourced, and sold to 600 million food customers globally,” she said.