Measures to curb overfishing receive widespread support globally

Global Advisor: globally, the majority of adults support policies to make fishing more sustainable.

The author(s)

  • Nicolas Boyon Public Affairs, US
  • Rachel Martin Public Affairs, US
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Global Advisor Sustainable Fishing Report from Ipsos Public Affairs

A new global Ipsos survey on behalf of the World Economic Forum shows overwhelming support for policies aimed at curbing overfishing. About three quarters of all men and women surveyed across 28 countries support each of four measures to make fishing more sustainable:

  • Banning fishing of all endangered species altogether (77%);
  • Banning stores and restaurants from selling endangered species of fish (also 77%);
  • Banning government subsidies to fisheries that contribute to overfishing, overcapacity and illegal fishing (73%); and
  • Requiring stores and restaurants to inform consumers about the endangered status of the fish species they sell (71%).

Each of these four measures is favored by a majority of adults in every single country surveyed, except Japan.

Globally, most adults surveyed who buy fish at least once a month say that it is important to them that:

  1. The type of fish is not on a list of species at risk of disappearing (81%),
  2. It is sustainably caught or farmed (80%), and
  3. It is caught or farmed locally (72%).

Detailed Findings

Fish Buying Frequency

Countries surveyed where consumers are most likely to buy fish at least once a month are Spain (90%), Malaysia (89%), Peru (88%), Italy (85%), and China (85%);

Countries where they are least likely to do so are: Hungary (46%), Argentina (50%), and India (54%).

At least one in four consumers in Malaysia (31%), Saudi Arabia (30%), Japan (26%) and Spain (25%) buy fish several times a week.

India is the country with the highest proportion of consumers who never buy fish (32%).

Perceived Importance of Sustainable Fishing

More than 70% of people who buy fish at least once a month globally say that each of the following is very or somewhat important to them when it comes to choosing a specific type of fish:

  • Not on a list of species at risk of disappearing (i.e., have seen their population decline sharply): 81% (39% very important, 42% somewhat important), including a large majority in every country (between 70% and 91%) except Japan (38%).
  • Sustainably caught or farmed (in a way that does not lead the fish population to decline over time): 80% (33% very important, 47% somewhat important), including a large majority in every country (between 73% and 89%) except Japan (40%).
  • Caught or farmed locally: 72% (23% very important, 49% somewhat important), including a majority in every single country (from 52% in Japan to 86% in Peru).

Support for Policies to Curb Overfishing

Globally, each of the following policies is strongly or somewhat supported by over 70% of all adults and strongly or somewhat opposed by less than 10%:

  • Banning fishing of all endangered species altogether: supported by 77% (53% strongly, 24% somewhat), including a large majority in every country (between 66% and 91%) except Japan (47%); opposed by only 7% (2% strongly, 5% somewhat) globally.
  • Banning stores and restaurants from selling endangered species of fish: supported by 77% (53% strongly, 24% somewhat), including a large majority in every country (between 66% and 90%) except Japan (48%); opposed by 7% (2% strongly, 5% somewhat) globally.
  • Banning government subsidies to fisheries that contribute to overfishing, overcapacity and illegal fishing: supported by 73% (48% strongly, 26% somewhat), including a large majority in every country (between 65% and 87%) except Japan (48%); opposed by 7% (2% strongly, 5% somewhat) globally.
  • Requiring stores and restaurants to inform consumers about the endangered status of the fish species they sell: supported by 71% (43% strongly, 28% somewhat), including a large majority in every country (between 60% and 85%) except Japan (39%); opposed by 8% (3% strongly, 5% somewhat) globally.
These are the results of a survey conducted by Ipsos on the Global Advisor platform. Ipsos interviewed a total of 19,527 adults aged 18-74 in United States, Canada, Malaysia, South Africa, and Turkey, and 16-74 in 23 other countries on its Global Advisor online survey platform between August 23 and September 6, 2019.
The sample consists of approximately 1,000 individuals in each of Australia, Brazil, Canada, China (mainland), France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, Great Britain and the U.S., and 500 individuals in each of Argentina, Belgium, Chile, Colombia, Hungary, India, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Peru Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden and Turkey.
The samples in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, and the U.S. can be taken as representative of these countries’ general adult population under the age of 75. The samples in Brazil, Chile, China (mainland), Colombia, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Turkey are more urban, more educated, and/or more affluent than the general population. The survey results for these countries should be viewed as reflecting the views of the more “connected” segment of these population.
The data is weighted so that each country’s sample composition best reflects the demographic profile of the adult population according to the most recent census data.

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The author(s)

  • Nicolas Boyon Public Affairs, US
  • Rachel Martin Public Affairs, US

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