Land, Sea and People
Back in 2000 our battle cry was “land, sea and people.” It meant that sustainability is indivisible – and holistic. We still believe this. We believe you can’t have an environmental solution that causes or ignores social or socio-economic harm. This marks us apart from most sustainable fishing claims. Our holistic approach is also why we support sustainable farming as well as sustainable fishing.
We also believe you have to be 100% sustainable i.e., sustainability must be EVERYTHING that you do, not just a little bit of green edging on the side or something packaged separately for a few consumers who might want to buy sustainable like you might choose to buy a different colour.
The “land sea and people” vision was put forward long before the United Nations adopted its Sustainable Development Goals but in every way fits these aims. So for example if you put social concerns on a par with environmental concerns you don’t end up with a “sustainability” definition that is centred on fish stocks where fishing rights or the benefits of the business are captured by outside interests to the detriment of local fishing communities.
With our land principle by insisting on organic agriculture we recognise that you can’t support sustainability at sea but ignore it in agriculture. Organic agriculture is good for biodiversity, maintains and restores healthy soils and supports clean water systems. There is also a strong but contested argument that organic agriculture is climate-friendly as well as been better adapted or more resilient in stressed climate conditions.
Plus a little known fact squares that particular circle. Intensive farming, through a combination of intensive feed lots for farm animals, the excessive use of pesticides and poor soil quality, creates a toxic pollution in rivers called eutrophication. Eutrophication is basically the growth of algal bloom, some of which are highly toxic and all of which through decomposition removes oxygen from the water. In these oxygen depleted waters most organisms die. Ocean dead zones around river estuaries and spreading along important coastal habitats destroy marine life in what are often critically important feeding grounds that will then affect all trophic levels in the food chains. Compounded by the impact climate change, ocean dead zones are a direct result of intensive agriculture, brought through the river systems into the seas.