Sustainable seafood management in the restaurant sector: A case study on Hong Kong
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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This dissertation discusses the depletion of the planet’s marine ecosystems and how it has been a rapidly increasing problem for the fishing industries and the growing demand for seafood by consumers. The topic was chosen because the researcher discovered that the overall knowledge of sustainable seafood and where to find it in HK is limited, and therefore very little is being done to conserve the oceans’ species from endangerment or extinction. Shark fin soup is a famous delicacy for Chinese culture and is the main reason for the shrinking shark populations and the ever-growing shark fin trade. Consumption of live reef fish is another whole area of exploitations needing to be resolved. HK’s ports are an ideal trading station for people involved because of their direct access to Mainland China, where these products are in the most demand. This dissertation reveals what methods conservationists are taking to change seafood consumer diets to be more sustainable. This is compared to the opinions of restaurateurs, challenged by the conservationists to change, but being otherwise dictated by consumers who lack the knowledge to make a clear judgment. Five interviews were conducted in order to collect the data for this dissertation. The aim was to identify the attitudes towards the consumption of sustainable seafood and how one can implement sustainable change by comparing the views of restaurateurs and marine conservationists in HK. The study concluded that there are many factors. Raising awareness has been declared as the most important factor because if more people knew the facts about marine life, they would change the way they live. It was suggested that the most effective way to raise awareness was to use social media to reach the public internationally and free of charge. Conversely it was noted that this way of spreading information only reached the younger generations, as social media is used more frequently by younger generations. The researcher however declared that it was more important for the younger generations to understand sustainability, as they are the ones who will be living further into the future and will experience the damaging effects if they do not change. Other components of raising public awareness include documentaries, seminars, eco-labelling products and other methods. Factors affecting sustainability revealed during this study are the interaction with restaurants and their consumers to reduce the demand, the government involvement to regulate the trade in HK and to fund conservation research projects on the current situation of the marine ecosystems and lastly, finding alternatives to catching wild-caught seafood and prevent wastage.
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