The Initiative

Seafood Free September is an informed, compassionate response to the environmental impacts of fishing on marine ecosystems and marine species, with a focus on cetaceans.

We aim to raise awareness by campaigning for social and behavioural change that empowers individuals and communities to become positive role models for sustainability, sending a powerful, united message in support of responsible, equitable and sustainable fishing.

Participating in Seafood Free September is an opportunity to learn about the environmental impacts of fishing, and how to consume seafood responsibly, from sustainable sources. It is a promise to protect the ocean and conserve our marine heritage.

The Idea

The Seafood Free September campaign is about ‘Rethinking our Relationship with Seafood’.

The idea was conceived out of a deep concern for how environmental impacts – overfishing, industrial fishing methods, over-exploitation of marine resources, and destruction of ocean habitats and marine life – were threatening the sustainability of the marine environment.

Consumer-driven change is the philosophy behind Seafood Free September. We accept responsibility for our choices and take immediate action by deciding not to contribute to an increased demand for seafood, then we commit to more sustainable choices. As consumers, we have enormous power to influence industry and government policy.

The Inspiration

In 2015, the Pacific island nation of Palau declared a 500,000km2 marine sanctuary (equivalent to 80% of its territorial waters) where extractive activity (fishing and oil drilling) was to be banned to allow the ocean to heal from the damage caused by commercial fishing.

The proposal was signed into law, and the marine protected area (MPA) went into effect on January 1, 2020. Locally managed fisheries are still permitted to operate within the remaining 20% of the nation’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

Historically, when fish declined in their waters, the traditional leaders of Palau would declare a ‘bul’ and temporarily ban fishing to allow recovery of fish populations. The ‘bul’ is embedded in the nation’s constitution – it is written law that the government must take priority action to conserve the natural environment.

The concept behind Seafood Free September was inspired by this declaration of a ‘bul’ whenever fish declined in Palau’s waters. When we take the pledge to give up seafood and all products sourced from the marine environment for 30 days, we are declaring a ‘bul’ on an individual level.

Imagine what we could achieve if we declared a ‘bul’ on a global scale.

© 2016 – 2022 Seafood Free September.

Image Credit – Photo by Thomas Lipke on Unsplash